British photographer Mick Rock, nicknamed “the man who shot the 70s” while working with greats like David Bowie and Queen, has died. He was 72.
“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,” a statement on his Twitter page posted Thursday read, noting he snapped “some of the most magnificent images rock music has ever seen.”
The cause of death was not disclosed.
“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,” it continued. “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 the unique charisma of his subjects electrified and energized him. His intent always intent, his focus always total.”
One such instance, of the many he’s shot over the years, is the iconic photo of the members of Queen — Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon — with their faces against a black background, which was the album art for “Queen II.”
“A man fascinated with image, he absorbed visual beings through his lens and immersed himself in their art, thus creating some of the most magnificant images rock music has ever seen,” the statement continued. “To know Mick was to love him. He was a mythical creature; the likes of which we shall never experience again.”
Born in London as Michael David Rock, he began snapping photos of local rock bands while studying medieval languages in Cambridge. That’s when he met Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger’s brother and the rest, as they say, is history.
Or, as he told The Post in March, if not for an LSD trip he took in 1968, at age 19, he might never have had the catalyst that led him to snap iconic photos of Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mötley Crüe and a host of other musicians — despite having no interest in photography.
“I was at the home of a friend who had all the toys, including a great record player and camera,” he told The Post. “Sitting around his room, tripping on blotter acid, I picked up the camera and began playing with it. Every time I clicked, there was an explosion and I saw a lady’s faces in a million iterations.”
“It was a different time,” he added. “I picked up what I needed to know as I went along. I realized that you didn’t need to know much when it came to photography.”
He went on make friends with the late Bowie, who hired him as his photographer in 1972. Together, they shot some of the most iconic Bowie images during the singer’s glam rock years and Rock directed four of his videos: “John, I’m Only Dancing,” “Jean Genie,” “Space Oddity” and “Life on Mars.”
While his work with Bowie still stuns fans today, perhaps one of his best stories revolves around an image of Mötley Crüe — one with the foursome splashing around in bubbles in the bathtub.
“They were out of their f–king minds with cocaine,” Rock told The Post. “They made me look like an amateur — and I was no amateur. At one point during the session, Vince Neil disappeared with some bird.”
While the image is something legendary now, at the time, it was locked up in the rock vault.
“They were completely wild and fun and there happened to be a bathtub [in the studio]. Somebody told them to get in; so they did and poured in the bubble bath. I thought it was the perfect photo, but for some reason their record label didn’t use it.”
Rock is survived by his wife, Pati, and their daughter, Nathalie.