A new David Bowie photography exhibition is due to open in Brighton next month.
The images set to be displayed were captured by Geoff MacCormack, a childhood friend of Bowie who, in the early 19070s, was asked to join the expanding lineup of his band, the Spiders From Mars.
MacCormack was selling advertising space for a construction paper at the time he was asked to join Bowie and the Spiders. After agreeing to be a part of the group, he set off on a three-year tour playing in various iterations of Bowie’s backing band and, crucially, took dozens of photographs.
The images MacCormack took will be displayed in an exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery next month, which is set to feature 60 shots he took as he travelled with Bowie around the world, including some taken on the Trans-Siberian Express.
“Those holiday snaps, as I call them, are sometimes even better than the one where he looks wonderful and heroic, which in a lot of them he does. They’re holiday snaps really,” MacCormack told The Guardian.
Some of the images see Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in the Hammersmith Odeon dressing room calmly reading a review minutes before going on stage, clowning around on the Trans-Siberian Express and moments in between when he embarked on a film career.
MacCormack’s favourite images come from the period he spent with Bowie in Santa Fe in the United States, when he starred in The Man Who Fell To Earth.
“You see in some of my photographs how well he looked and how happy he was,”” MacCormack said. “It was just one of those idyllic situations and he was enjoying working on that film and he was clearly right for it and it was all going well. That was a really nice period.”
MacCormack, who had no photography training, joined Bowie on numerous world tours and the five albums he released, from ‘Aladdin Sane’ in 1973 through ‘Station To Station’ in 1976. He would eventually leave to start his own songwriting company and continue his passion for photography.
“Sometimes you say: ‘Oh, I wish I would have taken more pictures.’ But I think it could have been irritating, and the attitude of the pictures would have changed,” he said. “It would have become a nuisance, rather than a sporadic thing where sometimes I had the camera, and sometimes I didn’t.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me Bowie/MacCormack 1973-76 opens on October 17 to June 6 at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.
The record, which was Bowie’s third studio album, was released in 1970 and included tracks including ‘All The Madmen’, ‘Running Gun Blues’ and the title track.
To mark its 50th anniversary, ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ will be re-released in November as ‘Metrobolist’. Bowie initially wanted to use this title as a tribute to the 1927 film of the same name by Fritz Lang. However, Mercury Records changed the name of the record at the last minute without seeking Bowie’s approval first.