Photography is a magical thing. A photograph can transport you right back to any point in time, transgressing lifetimes. The seventies is an era those of us who didn't live through seem to pine over, if not for the music scene then for the party scene; it's a decade which has become something of legend. The images taken by Mick Rock in this time would come to define the era.
If you don't know his name, you'll know his work. The numerous David Bowie music videos Rock directed, including Life on Mars 1973 (see Kate Moss wearing the musician's iconic ice blue suit here), or cover art (of which he has shot over 100) which would come to define rock - think Lou Reed's Transformer (1972), David Bowie's Space Oddity (1969), Iggy Pop for The Stooges' 1972 Raw Power or Queen II (1974). Or, you might be more familiar with the legendary photographer's shots of Debbie Harry, or Bowie plucking on Mick Ronson's guitar on stage.
This year, to mark Rock's 51st anniversary, the image-maker has teamed up with the internationally renowned street artist Fin DAC. The collaboration, titled MIDARO, marks the first time either of the creatives have entered into such a partnership, merging their two practices as one. A series of limited edition prints and unseen artworks are released today, 2 March 2021, with West Contemporary Editions
The British photographer, based in New York since 1982, saw rock stars as his idols, just like the ones he learnt about while studying the French Symbolist Poets, the English Romantics and the Beatnik generation at university. Rock first picked up a camera on an acid trip, and the legendary image-maker has been quoted as saying that LSD taught him how to see - you really can't get more rock 'n' roll than that. He would later become known as the 'Man Who Shot The Seventies', however his career spans far beyond one decade. Receiving the Diesel U Music Legends award for his contribution to music in 2006, Rock has gone on to shoot the stars of today, such as Miley Cyrus, and collaborated on numerous books with some of rock's biggest names; in 2015 he worked with Taschen Books on The Rise of David Bowie, 1972-1973, which would become their fastest selling book to date.
For Rock's latest project MIDARO, he's working with Fin DAC. Using Rock's iconic photographs of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop, the Irish painter known for his street art and graffiti aesthetic, has created a series of limited edition prints and artworks on canvas. Released in editions of 51 today, 2 March 2021 with West Contemporary Editions, the date marks what would have been Reed's 79th birthday - Rock was the official photographer for the musician, who as a result has played a central role in the image-makers legacy, whilst not so coincidentally also paying influence to Fin DAC's previous works.
Three of the MIDARO images will be auctioned post-launch with proceeds going to charity. Proceeds from a David Bowie print will go to the NHS (sale live 23 March 2021), a Blondie image raises funds for CARE International (sale live 9 March 2021) and a Lou Reed work will be supporting the men's mental health charity CALM (sale live 2 March 2021). Just last year, Rock released a series of rare prints to raise money to provide masks for the NHS.
There's more! Mick Rock has also created four unseen art pieces as part of the MIDARO project, and will be re-releasing a limited edition series of his most iconic images, taken between 1969-1980. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to get your hands on some rock 'n' roll history.
Find out more and make your purchase from West Contemporary Editions.