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Mick Rock dies

By | Published on Friday 19 November 2021

Mick Rock

Acclaimed music photographer Mick Rock has died. He was 72.

A statement posted on Rock’s social media reads: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share [that] our beloved psychedelic renegade Mick Rock has made the Jungian journey to the other side. 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”, it goes on. “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 energised him. His intent always intense. His focus always total”.

“A man fascinated with image”, it adds, “he absorbed visual beings through his lens and immersed himself in their art, thus creating some of the most magnificent images 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”

“Let us not mourn the loss, but instead celebrate the fabulous life and extraordinary career of Michael David Rock”, it concludes. “We must ask that the privacy of his nearest and dearest be respected at this time. Therefore, there will be no further comments”.

As noted in the statement, Rock was best known for his work in the 1970s, photographing artists including David Bowie, Queen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry and The Sex Pistols. He began taking pictures of bands using a friend’s camera to document the local music scene while studying at the University Of Cambridge.

He was particularly known for his association with Bowie, whom he met in 1972. As well as photographing him, he also directed several of the Bowie’s music videos, including ‘The Jean Genie’, ‘Life On Mars’ and ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’ – the latter of which was banned by ‘Top Of The Pops’.

His work spread well beyond Bowie and the 70s though, as he worked with artists including Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Daft Punk, Nas, Janelle Monae, The Chemical Brothers, and more.

He also created numerous album covers over the years too, including Queen’s ‘Queen II’, The Stooges’ ‘Raw Power’, Lou Reed’s ‘Coney Island Baby’, Carly Simon’s ‘Come Upstairs’ and, most recently, Miley Cyrus’s ‘Plastic Hearts’.