Exhibition, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, 17th October 2020 – 6th June 2021
Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me – Bowie/MacCormack 1973 -1976
Header image: David 1975 © Geoff MacCormack
The life and times of David Bowie have been documented more than most; tales of wonder and imagery to match across an incomparable 50 year musical career, from the hedonism of Haddon Hall to the augury of Black Star via the darker hours of the Thin White Duke, it’s hard to find a patch that hasn’t been sewn up. However, in this photographic exhibition of the early to mid 70s’ era, we see Bowie though a different lens, with all the pictures having been taken by his close friend and travelling musician, Geoff MacCormack.
There is no shortage of iconic images of Bowie in the world; hanging out with Iggy and Lou Reed, unfazed by the enormous dog rearing up next to him on the Diamond Dogs shoot, the manequinned Pin Ups’ cover all reflect different sides of his life and work, and he has often been the muse of world renowned photographers including Mick Rock and Terry O’Neill. The beauty of this collection is that it captures some moments of intimacy that a staged shoot never would, and the opportunity to see these in person is something to absorb and appreciate after a long enforced absence from galleries and museums; what a wonderful welcome back.
David asleep on the Trans Siberian Express, 1973 © Geoff MacCormack
Full details from the press release here:
Geoff MacCormack’s close friend from the age of 8 years old was David Jones, the boy who would become David Bowie and one of the most influential performers in music, fashion and theatrical stage craft of the twentieth century.
In 1973 Bowie called his childhood friend and suggested he may join his band, The Spiders from Mars, and go on a worldwide adventure, travelling first class by sea to New York and then on to Japan, from Japan to Siberia, through Russia by Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow for May Day Parade, Poland, East and West Germany, just in time for tea at the George V Hotel in Paris, followed by a relaxing holiday in Rome, just to chill out.
And just when Geoff thought the fun might be over, Bowie said; “Would you mind being a Diamond Dog and coming back to New York on an even better ship, eating caviar every day and joining another band, then another band, helping out on a few albums and generally hanging out and having the time of your life for a couple more years?”
Left: David on the set of The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1975
Right: David backstage after the ‘retirement’ gig for Ziggy Stardust,
Hammersmith Odeon, 3rd July 1973 – both © Geoff MacCormack
Geoff did not hesitate and became Bowie’s backing singer and percussionist in 1973 on the Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane world tour. Arriving in Japan, Geoff ditched his Kodak Instamatic camera in favour of a Nikon and began taking a few images here and there, starting in Siberia on the Trans Siberian Railway and ending two and a half years later in Los Angeles during the Station To Station sessions.
Because Bowie disliked flying they travelled together by cruise liner and trains across the world giving MacCormack and his camera the opportunity to capture Bowie at his most informal and relaxed.
From Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane of Britain’s Glam Rock years, the ground-breaking Diamond Dogs tour across the USA and their obsession with American Soul music, to Bowie’s first major film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1975) and the recording of Station to Station and his Thin White Duke persona, this exhibition of intimate photographs, some of which have never been seen before in a public exhibition, gives a glimpse of a close friendship, travel and life on the road with one of the greatest rock stars of all time.
David in costume with Geoff MacCormack, on the set of The Man Who Fell To Earth, 1975
© Geoff MacCormack
The show will be held in the museum’s three large galleries and will include 60 large original framed photographs of Bowie by MacCormack. These photographs will be complemented by a short film never seen before in the UK shot by Bowie on their trip to Moscow in 1973, music videos of Bowie and MacCormack on stage together, film excerpts and music in the galleries.
Michael Bedingfield, Chair of the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust said, ” Bowie was one of the most influential and captivating artists ever and we know this show will appeal to his many fans of all ages. The images offer a rare glimpse into a fascinating time of his life spent with one of his oldest friends. We are thrilled to be able to offer this show at Brighton Museum as our first major show on reopening after the lockdown. Don’t forget to book your tickets online on our website.”
David filming the May Day Parade from the window of the InTourist Hotel,
Moscow, 1973 © Geoff MacCormack
Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me – Bowie/MacCormack 1973 – 1976 runs from 17th October 2020 – 6th June 2021 – as with all galleries and public spaces, some restrictions may be in place so please check details before attending and, if you’re feeling unwell, please stay at home for everyone’s safety.
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Pavilion Parade, Brighton BN1 1EE
The museum is currently preparing for re-opening so please check back on the website for opening times and ticket information/pricing – tickets will be available to book from 2nd October
All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from Brighton Museum & Art Gallery and remain the copyright of Geoff MacCormack
Intro by Siobhan
28th September 2020