Review :: Mick Rock: Exposed

July 6th 2011


Down a leafy little street in high-end Paddington you’ll find the quaint Blender Gallery and the Just Shoot Lomography shop. Specialising in fine art music photography and limited edition rock ‘n’ roll prints, the gallery has built quite the reputation since opening in 2001. As a self-proclaimed “mecca for art and culture in the Eastern suburbs,” it comes as no surprise to find that Blender’s current exhibition, Mick Rock: Exposed showcases the be all and end all of rock ‘n’ roll prints. Showing for the first time in Australia, the work of famed 70’s photographer and socialite, Mick Rock, the exhibition voices the revolutionary spirit of the rock ‘n’ roll decades and captures the essence of punk, pop, glitz and glam as lived by folk such as David Bowie, Queen, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Ozzy Osborne and Kate Moss to name but a few.

To demonstrate just how much credo our artist has when it comes to the art of photography, it’s only fair to give him a short biographical wrap up. Mick Rock is known to most as the “Man Who Shot the 70s”, the man who’s current retrospective offers iconic images of the past half a century. He launched his career in 1972 with his portrait of a then unknown David Bowie and the rest is pretty much history. Shooting the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust alongside being Bowie’s first official photographer, this is a man who didn’t shy away from hitting the hard stuff. Moving to New York in ‘77, Rock went on to become an integral figure on the underground music scene befriending the likes of The Ramones and Blondie. More recently, he has worked with big shots like Kate Moss, Johnny Marr, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Chemical Brothers whilst constantly producing copious promo films, album covers, art works, videos and many a Rolling Stone cover. It is, without a doubt, that Mick Rock is IT when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll photography.

And so to the exhibition and my top picks. Enter the space and you’re confronted with a black and white print of Bowie and Mick Ronson on a train to Aberdeen. They’re both suited up and in deep conversation over a meal. Next there’s a young Ozzy Osborne boasting luscious caramel hair – obviously pre-debauched reality TV days. We also have Kate Moss in true waif form, complete with suction clamps on her nipples, a studded biker belt and suspenders. In contrast, Lou Reed engages us with his intense glare, but can we take him seriously? He’s wearing a leotard not unlike a mime outfit. Then there’s a nonchalant Madonna – a very sultry Madonna, thanks to her seeping eyeliner and boy cut hair do.

Mick Rock: Exposed is well worth your time. It’s a retrospective that tributes the weird and the wonderful and also knocks these stars off their pedestal – if only momentarily. He who shot them brings all their quirks to life and there’s certainly an air of inspiration among them all.

What: Mick Rock: Exposed!

Where: Blender Gallery, Paddington

When: 24 Jun – 30 July

How Much: Free


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