It was a thrill to have an interview with Mick Rock and see why he’s supporting health charities with his work
By Chere Di Boscio
There is no other rock photographer as iconic as Mick Rock. He introduced us to the world of Ziggy Stardust; shot an intense Iggy Pop at his mike; and helped to transform the likes of Lou Reed and Debbie Harry into cultural icons.
But now the celebrity snapper is using his fame for a good cause.
He has allowed Irish street artist Fin DAC to create a series of limited edition prints and original artworks on canvas that are available at West-contemporary-editions.com. The release date was deliberately set for March 2nd, Lou Reed’s birthday.
Mick has also personally curated some of his personal favourite images from his archive of the four subjects (Bowie, Reed, Harry and Iggy) which will be made available in 3-5 limited edition sizes per print, taken by the photographer between 1969 and 1980, plus 4 new unseen art pieces. This will be a first ever collaboration for the two leaders of their chosen media, combining their decades-long honing of their respective crafts of photography and painting.
Three of the MIDARO images will also be auctioned post launch with proceeds going to the NHS (Britain’s National Health Service), CARE International (which works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice) and the mens’ mental health charity CALM.
We think that given the extremely negative mental health effects the lockdowns have had on men, this is a great idea! So we decided to interview Mick Rock about the series and his motivations behind getting involved with the project.
Our Exclusive Interview With Mick Rock
First up, it seems men’s needs in general have been neglected in recent social justice narratives. It’s interesting you chose to support CALM the charity. Tell us a bit about why.
That’s ok. We were always so big and butch for the longest time. Then David Bowie and Lou Reed ,among others, came along and stirred things up. I’ve known a lot of people who have suffered from depression, drug addiction, and have committed suicide. The boys need a little protection and fostering!!
You famously photographed rebels and innovators in the music industry. But it seems these days, there are fewer and fewer of these – despite the fact that we need them now more than ever! Which artists do you feel are shaking things up, if any?
Yes, starting with Syd Barrett, Bowie, Lou and Iggy. These were the kind of characters I was drawn to in those early years. I saw them first and foremost as artists. Characters who lived outside the mainstream. Who had a different way of looking at the world.
It’s a radically different world today.. The technology is the revolution. The speed at which communication happens. Innovation is communicated very quickly.
Why did you choose to partner with FIN DAC instead of working on your own for this new project?
I’ve generated a lot of photo imagery on my own over the last 20 years. A lot of it based on my own photography, but occasionally I get a buzz from seeing how other people respond to my images. And I like Fin’s work. Especially with the Japanese flavor he brings. I’ve done several exhibitions in Tokyo. A general one at the Japanese Metropolitan Museum of Photography, an exhibition of my Kabuki Theatre photos, and in 2017 I delivered an exhibition of my David Bowie photos
What do you love most about the results of that partnership?
He’s definitely produced something that I hadn’t expected. Thrown another twist into my career; shown me another way to enjoy my own work. I’m sure we’ll do another collaboration based on my images.
You must have some incredible tales to tell! Since we can’t meet for a beer right now, can you share just one of your favorite rock stories?
Oh yes, I can think of a few things that would tickle people’s curiosity. But I don’t tell tales out of school, or show indiscreet imagery. Especially from the early years when we were all young and uninhibited!! A lot of images that are really no one else’s business.
What kind of legacy do you hope you’ll leave behind in the worlds of both rock and photography?
I think that’s for other people to judge. I just do what I do and hope that the audience finds it aesthetically stimulating!
All images: Copyright Fin DAC/Midaro/Mick Rock 2021