Acclaimed photographer Markus Klinko captured David Bowie in striking form for the cover of the singer’s album Heathen in 2001. The extraordinary portraits are a work of art and will be shown in London this autumn at Bowie Unseen, an exhibition that will first be showcased at the nightclub Tramp, from October 1, before moving to Hampstead’s Zebra One Gallery on October 7, where it can be seen throughout November.
Klinko first came into contact with Bowie when he was shooting the cover for Bowie's wife Iman’s first book, I Am Iman. “She came to the studio to look over the edits and to my great surprise, he came along too,” Klinko recalls. “He was every bit as charismatic and extraordinary as one can imagine, but also really kind and lovely to talk to. He was very involved in the selection process and had a great eye for imagery.”
Bowie asked the photographer to meet him at his recording studio to listen to some tracks. “I went over the next day and wandered around the old, understated building to find Bowie and his producer Tony Visconti in one of the rooms,” Klinko says. “He said they wanted to play some of the new songs for me, before discussing the album art. The mental image of Bowie sitting by a window, smoking cigarettes while his producer played the rough mixes from the board, is one that I will never forget.”
The collection is striking. In one photograph, the singer is dressed in a light blue canvas coat and holds a snarling grey wolf on a chain (a 40in medium-sized print is on sale at £28,500/$35,000). Elsewhere, a large 60in print depicts an alien-like Bowie striding forward, a baby in his arms (£20,000/$25,000). In another, he smiles enigmatically as the viewer is drawn to the colour of his eyes (£8,000/$10,000), while a smaller 24in shot shows the singer smoking a cigarette while lounging in a three-piece suit (£3,000/$3,800). There is also a collection of six mini-prints depicting Bowie in various guises, for sale as a set for £12,200/$15,000.
The sale of the photography will help the charity Macmillan Cancer Support, which will receive 10 per cent of the proceeds, in recognition of the efforts made to find a cure for the disease that claimed the singer’s life three-and-a-half years ago at the age of 69.
“We’re extremely excited that Markus Klinko is flying over to London so that we can share these extraordinary images and raise funds for such an important cause,” says Zebra One Gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy.