Rare images of David Bowie released to celebrate the Starman's birthday

David Bowie by Kate Garner
(Image credit: Kate Garner/Zebra One Gallery)

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). 

(Image credit: Kate Garner/Zebra One Gallery)

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. 

(Image credit: Kate Garner/Zebra One Gallery)

The new colored prints of David Bowie which have been released to mark his 73rd birthday (Image credit: Kate Garner/Zebra One Gallery)

"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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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.