Mick Rock is such a legendary photographer that he helped to establish the entire rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic with his work snapping Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Lou Reed and the likes. Sadly, news has broken that he has now passed away at the age of 72.
A statement by Rock’s family in the early hours of the morning (November 19th) read: “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.”
Adding: “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.’ 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.”
Before continuing: “The stars seemed to effortlessly align for Mick when he was behind the camera; feeding off the unique charisma of his subjects electrified and energised him. His intent always intense. His focus always total. A man fascinated with image, he absorbed visual beings through his lens and immersed himself in their art, thus creating some of the most magnificent images rock music has ever seen.
“Let us not mourn the loss, but instead celebrate the fabulous life and extraordinary career of Michael David Rock. While you do so in your own way, we must ask that the privacy of his nearest and dearest be respected at this time. Therefore, there will be no further comments.”
Rock was born in 1948 and soon shot to prominence with his iconic work snapping David Bowie. Like a member of the band, he was an established fixture in Bowie’s creative oeuvre and captured the pioneering Ziggy Stardust phase like a Gonzo-photographer. Such a life lead so closely attached to the stars of the day meant Rock was often regarded as a pivotal member of the rock and roll explosion. But it wasn’t without its pitfalls.
At the time, Rock was indulging in the same debauched splurge that fuelled the post-Woodstock scene that Bowie was helping to craft. He took drugs, smoked, partied and repeated with minimal sleep and lunch breaks in between, because “food was just a drag”.
Owing to this uniquely involved way of doing things he established a plethora of creative partnerships throughout his career, and many of these stars have led the tributes to Rock, which you can see in the tweets below.
As of yet, no cause of death has been announced. He is survived by the glowing artwork and loving family that he left behind.