To mark what would have been David Bowie’s 74th birthday on 8 January, Zebra One Gallery is releasing three, rare images of the late icon by celebrated British photographer Kate Garner in an exclusive, new series of signed colorways. The fifth anniversary of the singer’s death is on January 10.
The images are from an extraordinary 1995 LA shoot with Bowie, which saw him tied up with ropes and suspended from the ceiling, wrapped in bandages and put inside a giant tube. They are the only Bowie images Garner has left, after her entire photograph collection was stolen from storage in Los Angeles, 12 years ago. Some images survive as a handful of prints and negatives had been fortunately were found at a friend's London studio.
The challenging shoot was for two different magazine covers in one afternoon, and both Esquire and Raygun wanted creative control. But Bowie made the experience as easy as possible, by happily allowing Garner to suspend him from ropes (above) and put him inside a tube (below).
Photographer-turned-singer, Garner explains: "I was never a crazy Bowie fan, preferring the rough edges of Iggy to David's personas, but after spending an afternoon with this magician, I found him to be one of the most amazing humans I have ever met.
“He even learned the words to my songs and sung them to me over the lunch table, while staring directly into my eyes. He also showed me photographs of his paintings and asked me to give a critique of them. This, along with the fact that he had a translucent beauty at the age of 47, made him pretty hard to resist.”
She adds: "The only request David balked at was me photographing his naked back from behind, because he had scoliosis.
"After we had finished, David asked me if I wanted to do another, more intimate, easy-going session and did I want to photograph Iman, his wife? Yes. Yes please!
"At that time I lived in an old 40's apartment in LA with beautiful light. I envisioned photographs of him on the white bed with sunlight pouring in over his white skin. I asked the Face magazine if they would be interested in sponsoring the session. They declined saying he had 'sold out!’ Unbelievable. So, the second session never happened.”
Zebra One Gallery owner and curator, Gabrielle Du Plooy adds: “We’re so excited to be able to share this amazing piece of history. To celebrate what would have been his birthday, these three rare images are bring sold exclusively through us, with gold and pink editions as well as black and white.”
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