Duffy’s son Chris with Bowie’s biographer Kevin Cann alongside prints in the exhibition at La Térmica. :: JOSÉ BÁEZ
“I have a new artist and I need some promotional photos.” These were the words said by pop music manager Tony Defries to one of the great fashion photographers of the 1970s, Brian Duffy. He wanted the best photographer because he knew his artist had potential. “He is very talented and I am going to make him a superstar,” said Defries. When the photographer arrived at the studio in 1972 Duffy had no idea it was going to be David Bowie, the artist who revolutionised pop music and became a fashion icon. The relationship between musician and photographer continued throughout 70s and images from this partnership are now being shown at Malaga’s La Térmica cultural centre, under the title ‘Bowie Series’.
The most famous photograph in the collection was taken in 1973 when Duffy was given carte blanche to create the album cover of Aladdin Sane. The son of the photographer, Chris Duffy, and the musician’s biographer, Kevin Cann, explained at the opening of the exhibition that the original photomontage, located in London’s Victoria and Albert museum, is valued by the auction house Christie’s at 3.6 million euros.
From this original, Duffy junior convinced his father - who died in 2010 - to put together a signed series. This is what is currently being exhibited in Malaga.
During the opening Duffy and Cann spoke of both artists and announced that they are preparing a book about the “stories that are behind these groups of photos”.
The 1972 shoot was for the CD Ziggy Stardust that caused controversy with Bowie’s dyed hair and transsexual image. Then came the Aladdin Sane photos followed by The Thin White Duke persona and another two series of photos that were used for the covers of Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) and Lodger. All these images form part of the collection of 30 works that is on show until 23rd March. The exhibition has been commissioned by Mario Martín who explained that the images were recovered by the photographer’s son from different magazines and archives for which his father worked.
“In 1980 Duffy rejected his own work and burnt all of his negatives,” explained Martín.