Legendary rock 'n' roll photographer Mick Rock dies, aged 72

19 November 2021, 10:36

Mick Rock was one of rock 'n' roll music's most iconic photographers.
Mick Rock was one of rock 'n' roll music's most iconic photographers. Picture: Mick Rock

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

Mick Rock, one of rock 'n' roll's first bonafide rockstar photographers has died aged 72.

A statement announcing Mick Rock's passing was posted on his social media channels earlier this morning, alongside a portrait taken by his daughter Nathalie Rock.

"To know Mick was to love him. He was a mythical creature; the likes of which we shall never experience again." the statement said.

No cause of death has been revealed as of yet.

The work of Mick Rock is synonymous with rock 'n' roll throughout the 1970s, where he would capture the essence of glam rock and punk icons in their prime.

His photography of David Bowie, Queen, Blondie, Roxy Music, Lou Reed, The Stooges, Ramones, and The Sex Pistols is arguably his most iconic.

Mick Rock captured David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and transformed him into a global phenomenon. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
Mick Rock captured David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and transformed him into a global phenomenon. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

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The statement that revealed Mick Rock has died said: "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share 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.”

"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, 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."

Rock shot this iconic photo for the Queen II album artwork.
Rock shot this iconic photo for the Queen II album artwork. Picture: EMI/Mick Rock

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Born Michael David Rock in 1948, Mick grew up in his birthplace of Hammersmith, London until he pursued a career in photography having attended college at Cambridge.

He expressed his passion for music by photographing local gigs, but it was his meeting with burgeoning star David Bowie that changed his career, much as it did Bowie's.

Rock quickly became Bowie's official photographer, capturing him during his Ziggy Stardust guise in his alien-esque, glam rock glory and transforming David Bowie into a global rock phenomenon.

Again working alongside Bowie, Mick Rock would also move into directing music videos, both directing and producing the videos to 'Space Oddity', 'Jean Genie' and 'John, I'm Only Dancing' which further crystallised the Ziggy Stardust era.

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Further adding to Rock's reputation as 'The Man Who Shot The 70s', he would also shoot the album art for numerous iconic albums.

Lou Reed’s Transformer and Coney Island Baby, Iggy Pop and the Stooges’ Raw Power, Queen’s Queen II, the Ramones’ End of the Century and Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n Roll were some of his most recognised.

The momentum of his career carried through until the present day, shooting modern talents from the mainstream and beyond including Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, The Killers, Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Queens of the Stone Age and Snoop Dogg.

But it's his legendary work throughout the 1970s that he'll be remember for, and rightly so. RIP Mick Rock.

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