Syd Barrett, 1969
Iconic Mick photograph of Syd Barrett posing outside his London flat on a Pontiac Parisienne in 1969.
Mick recalled, in an interview for The Guardian "I was meant to go and shoot Syd Barrett upstairs in his flat, but when I saw this car outside I thought: 'F**k it – I need to take pictures of that, too.' It was an incredible prop to have plonked there. If I recall correctly, it was a Pontiac Parisienne, a push-button convertible, and it was pink. Mickey Finn, who became the bongo-player for T-Rex, had picked it up at an auction, and Syd had swopped his Mini for it. But he didn’t have a clue how to drive this massive American car, and it basically didn’t work anyway. You can see the back wheel is a bit wonky. Eventually, it got towed."
This is a Mick Rock limited edition estate print. It comes embossed with an official stamp, numbered, and comes with a signed certificate of authenticity from the Mick Rock Estate. These archival fine art luster prints are available in the following sizes:
11" x 14" Edition of 90
16" x 20" Edition of 90
20" x 24" Edition of 50
24" x 30" Edition of 35
Mick was often dubbed “The Man Who Shot The Seventies,” but more accurately, he was “The Man Who Shot The Last Five Decades of Rock Music, Personalities and Culture.” There is no doubt that the Seventies were the modern musical Golden Age, and fate in its wisdom had placed Mick at the very epicenter of “right place, right time”. He never hesitated for a moment on the threshold of what would become rock photography and his unparalleled talent - his eye, his spontaneity, and even his name, were his ticket.
Mick Rock was born and raised in post- war London. His formidable intelligence led to great success at school and eventually brought him to storied Cambridge University and a degree in Modern Languages from Gonville & Caius. The Romantics, the Impressionists, the New Wave, the Beats, the psychedelics – these were his early foundation.
Mick’s introduction to the camera was one of those fortuitous occurrences in life…a friend’s camera, a beautiful girl, and the subsequent loss of those early photos due to the caprice of lack of film. However, Mick’s camera curiosity persisted and, after a period of dabbling, he was asked by his friend Syd Barrett to take some photos.
So it was that, post-Cambridge, Mick found himself doing a stint at the London Film School. During this time, he did some work with the graphic design firm Hipgnosis and wrote several articles for Rolling Stone. Ultimately, and not long after, Mick began to focus strictly on his greatest passion, photography. It was also at this time that he attended a B.K.S. lyengar seminar, and began his 50 year practice of yoga.
Throughout his legendary career, it was Mick’s unique access to his subjects which allowed him to capture – not only the iconic, but the intimate and highly personal essence of each one. His photographs both captured and enhanced the quiet genius of Syd Barrett, the beginnings of stardom for Queen, much of the life span of Ziggy Stardust, the rawness of Iggy Pop, and the musical transformation of Lou Reed.
During this period, Mick also photographed such artists and musicians as Rory Gallagher, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy Osborne, Lindsay Kemp, Bryan Ferry, Mott the Hoople, Ray Davies, Bob Marley, and Peter Gabriel. He produced and directed the seminal early classic David Bowie music videos: “John, I’m Only Dancing,” “Jean Genie,” ‘Space Oddity,” and “Life On Mars.”
In 1974, an invite from Lou Reed brought Mick to New York City and he soon after decided to stay. He rented a studio on Madison Avenue where he began photographing his edgy, punky NY subjects with hot backgrounds, one flash, and a lushness not normally associated with rock ‘n’ roll. The musical darlings of the times kept coming to his studio…Debbie Harry, Carly Simon, the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Joan Jett, Motley Crue, the Pointer Sisters, Dead Boys, and Bette Midler, to name just a very few.
He never stopped shooting. Other notable subjects included, John Cameron Mitchell, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Stipe, Kate Moss, Sir Tom Stoppard, Snoop Dog, Miley Cyrus, and Norman Reedus.Ultimately, Mick shot over 100 album covers and published 20 books of his work. His photographs have graced covers of magazines and publications from all over the world.
In 2016, Mick hosted an acclaimed Ovation Cable TV series , “On The Record With Mick Rock.” A documentary about his career, produced by Vice Films and Straight Up Films, called ‘SHOT!’, was launched at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016.
Mick Rock has had major exhibitions in Tokyo, Toronto, London, Liverpool, Berlin, Manchester, Mexico, Oslo, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, São Paulo, San Francisco, Las Vegas, EMP Museum Seattle, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Los Angeles, New York and Toulouse. He is also in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as well as in New York’s Brooklyn Museum. He was honored with a Blue Plaque at the Scala concert hall commemorating the two night headline (July 14, 1972) of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, and Mick’s capture of the Transformer and Raw Power album photos.
Mick Rock is no longer behind the camera, and that is our loss, but the magic and power of his photographs will live on and on.