From the Vaults: David Bowie – Album by Album

The cover of "Bowie: Album by Album"

The cover of “Bowie: Album by Album”


Originally published by Seacoast Media Group as:
Hot shots: Joe Stevens reflects on his time photographing David Bowie
by Chris Hislop, January 20, 2013

There are a mountain of monumental moments in Joe Stevens’ career as a rock photojournalist. If you know him, you’ve heard one of his larger than life stories. If you don’t know him, but hang around the Seacoast arts community, you’ve likely heard a community member recite one or more of his magnificent (true) tales. One subject he’s very keen on is David Bowie. Before you can even finish asking who his favorite subject was to shoot back in his heyday, Stevens quickly blurts out Bowie’s name.

“There are people that earn their living taking pictures of fashion shows, which are sound-tracked and lit like a rock ‘n’ roll gig,” said Stevens over a cup of coffee recently. “Your focus as a photographer is head to toe. Get the outfit, get the shoes, get the great big hat…; get everything. What the hell is the difference between that and David Bowie dressed in drag playing the Marquee Club? There is no difference. He had it all. He was larger than life. And the music was great (snickers).”

Stevens’ work can be seen in Paolo Hewitt’s recent hardcover, “Album By Album,” (Carlton Books) which takes the reader on a detailed artistic journey of Bowie’s career, from his debut album up until 2003’s “Reality” release (he has a new record, “The New Day” — his 28th album, and first studio release in a decade — due out in March of this year).

“I first shot Bowie at the Rainbow Theatre (in London) in the early ’70s,” says Stevens. “He was with the Spiders from Mars. We (Joe, and journalist Charles Shaar Murray) were still in the underground press at that time, with few connections. We sat in the balcony. I shot a bunch of photos that Charlie hid in his sock (the film) due to a fear of security confiscating the roll. We thought we’d get the photos published in some underground rag, but they wound up getting picked up by the New Musical Express (NME), which we then took over (literally) minutes later (laughs).

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Here are some pics of Bowie by Joe. Click on the thumbnails for bigger images.