Mick Rock, the photographer who “shot the 70s” and captured iconic images of artists including David Bowie, Queen, Blondie and Iggy and the Stooges, has died, according to a statement on his verified Instagram account on Friday.
“Those who had the pleasure of existing in his orbit, know that Mick was always so much more than ‘The Man Who Shot The 70s.’ 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,” the statement read.
“The stars seemed to effortlessly align for Mick when he was behind the camera; feeding off of the unique charisma of his subjects electrified and energized him. His intent always intense. His focus always total.
“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. To know Mick was to love him. He was a mythical creature; the likes of which we shall never experience again.”
Born in 1948, Rock rose to prominence in the 1970s for his work capturing images of musicians including Lou Reed and The Ramones, and his work on album covers including Syd Barrett’s “The Madcap Laughs,” Lou Reed’s “Transformer” and “Coney Island Baby,” Iggy and the Stooges’ “Raw Power”, Queen’s “Queen II” and “Sheer Heart Attack,” The Ramones’ “End of the Century” and Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Rock’s friendship with late stars David Bowie and Syd Barrett garnered significant attention: Rock was around for the initial success of Barrett’s band Pink Floyd, as well as his friend’s decision to leave the group and shun the limelight. A deft writer as well an accomplished photographer, it was Rock who conducted Barrett’s last interview in 1971 for Rolling Stone, decades before the rock star’s death in 2006.
The photographer also took on the role of David Bowie’s official photographer from 1972 to 1973, and the shape-shifting performer signed nearly 2,000 of his intimate shots for a book that became a posthumous tribute when Bowie died in January 2016.
Rock’s work continued to be celebrated, and he also photographed contemporary artists including Pharrell, The Black Keys, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg.