Mick Rock, one of the biggest names in music photography, has died, according to a social-media announcement. He was 72. “He was a photographic poet — a true force of nature who spent his days doing exactly what he loved, always in his own delightfully outrageous way,” a statement on his Instagram said. Rock is best known as David Bowie’s longtime official photographer, also directing multiple Bowie music videos including “Space Oddity” and “Life on Mars.” The British-born photographer also shot musicians including Lou Reed, Debbie Harry and Blondie, Iggy Pop, and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett. The album cover for Queen II, which he shot for Queen, later inspired the “Bohemian Rhapsody” music video. His popularity during the 1970s earned him the title of “The Man Who Shot the Seventies.” “A man fascinated with image, he absorbed visual beings through his lens and immersed himself in their art, thus creating some of the most magnificent photographs rock music has ever seen,” the statement on his death continued.
Rock continued to work long past that era, though, going on to photograph stars including Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, and Daft Punk. He published many photo books, including Glam! An Eyewitness Account, which featured a foreword by Bowie, and the retrospective Mick Rock Exposed; he has also been the subject of multiple art exhibitions and the 2016 documentary SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock. In 2020, he shot ’70s-punk-inspired album cover to Miley Cyrus’s Plastic Hearts. “IT WAS BARELY OVER A YEAR AGO I SAT WITH YOU BY THE WINDOW LISTENING TO BOWIE STORIES…. IT WAS MY HONOR,” Cyrus tweeted.