Got your ticket to the David Bowie Exhibition at the V&A yet? No, me neither. I’m not good at these great blockbuster exhibitions; I can’t cope with the crowds. So instead I took myself off to a small and peaceful exhibition in a gallery in the Piccadilly Arcade (across the road from the Royal Academy) where I passed a happy hour looking at some iconic photos of David Bowie taken by his long-term collaborator, Masayoshi Sukita.
Sukita was born in Kyushu in 1938 and studied photography before moving to Tokyo in 1965 to become a freelance fashion photographer. He visited New York in 1970 and 1971, where he photographed Jimi Hendrix and Marc Bolan, but it was a trip to London in 1972 which led to his first encounter with Bowie and a portrait session that started their forty-year collaboration.
Following that first Japan visit Bowie collaborated with Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto on costumes for his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane tours. Yamamoto’s work was heavily influenced by traditional kabuki costumes and he brought this influence into his designs for Bowie.
This is perhaps Sukita’s most famous picture of Bowie – it was used as the cover for the Heroes album in 1977 and is also used on the cover of Bowie’s latest album, The Next Day.
The photos are all for sale, in limited editions. The prices start at £195 for 8×10 inch ‘special offer’ prints in an edition of a hundred, but for most photos it’s £1,500 for 16×20 inch prints in an edition of thirty or £3,000 for 30×40 inch prints in an edition of ten.
That sounds like serious money to me, but to a Bowie fan in search of some history maybe not.
For those with less to spend there are T-shirts and bags and free badges.
The exhibition is free and continues until 30 April at Snap Galleries.