Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bowie

WE'RE BIG DAVID BOWIE FANS around this house. My own love of Bowie goes back to Paul Thurston, the hippest guy I knew in grade 9, telling me to buy a copy of his new album, Heroes. I'd liked his singles back from the Spaceman, Ziggy Stardust, Soulboy and Thin White Duke periods when I heard them on the radio in grade school, but this was something different - harsh and difficult and, frankly, very much how I felt as the '70s were coming to their pinched end and adolescence was roaring in my ears.

My wife, growing up in Nova Scotia, conceived of a fandom even more fervent than mine, and when the Victoria & Albert Museum's David Bowie Is... show came to town, we turned it into a family event. Child #1 was already a fan (fave Bowie song: "Jean Genie,") and Child #2 became one in short order (fave Bowie song: "Starman.") We have a lot of time for Mr. Bowie around here.

My wife saw Bowie live, and it had been one of the lingering regrets of my life that I didn't jump at the chance to see him playing piano for Iggy Pop at Seneca College Field House during the Idiot tour. I maintained that I'd never seen Bowie in concert whenever the subject came up, so imagine my surprise when I was sorting through a box of old prints yesterday and found this:

Shot during the Sound + Vision tour stop at the Skydome (now the Rogers Centre,) probably on assignment for NOW magazine. I had no memory at all of shooting this or being there - in all likelihood for just the three songs allotted to the media - and even now I can't recall a single detail of the shoot or the concert.

The rubber stamping on the print suggests that this was made after the fact for another client and returned when they were through with it, since NOW kept all of my shots for their archive. (Before donating that archive for a tax break to a university library. They got the tax break - the photographers, nominal owners of the prints, didn't. Yes, I was angry at the time. Bloody commies.)

It survived a massive purge of my prints I did over a decade ago (two garbage bags filled with photos) so I've obviously glanced at it at some point in the last 25 years, to no lasting impression on my memory. Three songs in a photographers' pen at a stadium show didn't count as "seeing Bowie" for me. Still doesn't, obviously.

I likely shot it with my troublesome Nikon F3, and since it doesn't look like I was in the gutter in front of the stage shooting past the monitors up Bowie's nostrils, I probably rented a 300mm telephoto from Vistek and shot from some point by the sound board. Maybe. Like I said - I can't remember a thing.

It's not a great photo; anyone could probably have taken this shot, in the same spot with the same lens. It's really just a record of a moment that I couldn't be bothered to retain. I'm imagining there might be a few more surprises like this behind the analog wall as I start digging - or at least I'm hoping there are.

So I didn't remember shooting one of my musical idols. I did, however, remember that I've photographed Mrs. Bowie:

Iman, 2007, shot with Canon EOS Rebel
She was nice, but she gave a lot of "model face" during the shoot. (Not surprisingly, I guess.) And she talked. A lot. I don't think David gets a word in edgewise when he's at home.

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