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Dubbed « the man who photographed the ’70s, » Mick Rock had captured a range of artists, from Blondie to Snoop Dogg.

Legendary photographer Mick Rock, nicknamed « the man who photographed the 70s », has died today at the age of 72. A statement on his official Twitter page confirmed the news.

« It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that our beloved psychedelic renegade Mick Rock has made the Jungian journey to the other side. », can we read in the press release. Those who have had the pleasure of living in its orbit know that Mick was much more than « the man who photographed the 70s ». He was a poet of photography, a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved, always in his delightfully extravagant way. « 

Rock documented an era of icons. Between 1972 and 1979, his portraits adorned album covers and his videos embellished some of the early music videos of the time. David Bowie, Queen, Blondie, Iggy Pop and Syd Barrett are among the famous artists he has captured. His art is immortalized on the covers of Queen ii, Raw Power and Transform. But his work resonated far beyond that time, having photographed a whole range of artists, from Snoop Dogg to Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In 1972, one of his photos of Bowie made the cover of the Nov. 9 issue of Rolling Stone.

In 2017 he was talking to Rolling Stone the documentary directed by Barnaby Clay on his life and career, SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock. He dedicated the film to  » timeless genius of David Bowie and Lou Reed « : » They made an important contribution to the development of my own sensitivity. Obviously I had photographed Barrett probably two and a half years before I met David, but I really think that [David et Lou] were also good people. When I had difficulties, they both helped me financially. They bought my prints. When I was in the hospital for my heart bypass surgery, the first flowers waiting for me came from Lou and David. They were not only my real friends, they were also my real heroes. My admiration for their work is strong. « 

If it was his photographs that made him known, his videos have also left an indelible mark. He was Bowie’s official photographer, then his videographer. He reworked one of their first music videos,  » Life on Mars“, With Clay as part of the Creator’s Project in 2011. He also directed videos for “ John, I’m Only Dancing« , » Jean Genie  » and  » Space Oddity From Bowie. In 2011, he was preparing an exhibition in New York that featured a retrospective of his work alongside new artists such as Lady Gaga. In an interview he was talking to Rolling Stone of his first videos, before MTV, and of what he thought of contemporary music videos:  » Some are pretty cool, because they don’t have a lot of budget and are created with a sense of immediacy. I don’t really like overproduced videos. The important thing is the raw energy and of the group or of the artist himself. This is what people want to see first and foremost. You don’t need an army of dancers to be effective. Maybe it’s because I’m a still image photographer. I prefer to keep it simple with the lighting, the textures, the atmosphere, rather than adding a lot of superfluous things. But again, I’m from the days when there wasn’t much budget for it, anyway. Finally, we are still there today! Maybe that’s why I work a lot again these days! « 

He was a prolific artist, whose work spanned decades and generations. In the announcement of his passing, his family discuss the distinct way he captured the essence of his subjects on film.  » The stars seemed to line up effortlessly for Mick when he was behind the camera; Feeding on the unique charisma of his subjects electrified and energized him. His intention was still intense. His concentration was still total. A man fascinated by the image, he absorbed visual beings through his lens and immersed himself in their art, creating some of the most magnificent images rock has ever seen. To know Mick was to love him. It was a mythical creature, like it will never be seen again. Let’s not mourn his loss, but rather celebrate the fabulous life and extraordinary career of Michael David Rock… Do it your way, however we must ask that the privacy of those close to him be respected. Therefore, there will be no further comments.. « 

Althea Legaspi

Translated by the editorial staff

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