By Adam Sherwin
Arts and Media Correspondent
Tributes have poured in for Mick Rock, the legendary music photographer known as “the Man Who Shot the 70s”, following his death aged 72.
The photographer captured iconic images of artists including David Bowie, Lou Reed, Queen, Sex Pistols, Blondie and many more.
A larger-than-life figure, as charismatic as the stars he shot, Rock went on to photograph Lady Gaga, the Killers, Miley Cyrus and Daft Punk.
A statement announcing his death described the Hammersmith-born Rock as a “photographic poet” and “a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved, always in his own delightfully outrageous way”.
Rock defined the glam rock era with his images of Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. Bowie claimed that a shot of him simulating oral sex on Mick Ronson’s guitar launched his career.
Rock chronicled Bowie’s rise over 5,000 images, shooting the cover for the 1973 album Pin Ups and directed the singer’s groundbreaking videos for “Space Odyssey”, “Life on Mars”, “Jean Genie” and “John, I’m Only Dancing”.
His work graced some of rock’s most memorable album covers including Reed’s Transformer and Coney Island Baby, Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ Raw Power, Queen’s Queen II, the Ramones’ End of the Century and Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Mike Garson, Bowie’s long-term keyboard player, called Rock “one of a kind, with such an eye for aesthetics and seizing the right moments… Mick gave so much to this planet and he adored David”.
Sharon Osbourne, whose husband Ozzy became a Rock subject, paid tribute, saying “We lost a legend” and that his work would “live on forever”.
Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess said Rock “made music look so exciting”.
Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr tweeted: “Goodbye for now my friend and comrade Mick Rock. The visionary poet.”
Kevin Cummins, former NME chief photographer, said: “When music was changing in the late 60s / early 70s, Mick was part of that process.”
Rock got his break in photography whilst attending college at Cambridge, where he became friends with Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barrett. Bowie introduced Rock to Lou Reed and the photographer found new subjects including Andy Warhol in the New York arts scene.
The photographer, who credited two decades of substance abuse for a near-death experience and underwent a quadruple heart bypass, settled in New York with his family.
No cause was given for his death. The statement issued by his representatives said: “Our beloved psychedelic renegade Mick Rock has made the Jungian journey to the other side.”