The first David Bowie album that I ever bought was ‘Heroes’. I was eighteen, and this, one of Bowie’s most seminal of albums, was also the first serious album that I had ever bought. From the opening sequence of the first track I knew that I was hooked, and I knew that this was a man that was going to change my life for good. David Bowie shattered my previous perspective of who I was and who I could be. This timid creature of eighteen who had never thought to question the way things are, had never questioned his role in life, was violently shifted in trajectory from blue collar background to a yearning artist with portfolio. In one wildly vivid movement I somersaulted through the air, and landed in a world that was full of Brecht, Dada, William Burroughs, Jean Genet, of sweeping art movements, intense poetry, the conceptual and the thought provoking. It was a world beyond my previous imagining, and one that was way out of my working-class background, and I loved it. My parents freaked, but I was in love, I was in love with David Bowie and the world that he had offered me. I owe him much of what I am today, and indeed, much of what I am not.
So it seems fitting for me to write a review for a book with David Bowie as its theme and as its reason for being. It is also fitting that this book be titled ‘The Legend’, for no more a creative individual perhaps deserves that title of legend than David Bowie. Throughout his fifty year career he shifted and swayed through creative and artistic movements, often either on the crest, or ahead of the crest of the wave of contemporary creativity.
David Bowie has never been clearly or solely identified with music. He was never a musical icon full-stop, he was very much a visual one as well. David Bowie was an artist writ large. He passed through his career physically metamorphosing from one intensely creative project to the next. He was a living canvas, projecting his current interests and intrigues through his style and clothing.
Always the consummate fashion icon David Bowie, posed for a set of photos in 1993 for the fashion photographer Michael Haddi, a photo set that was featured in the influential Interview magazine, an offshoot of the Andy Warhol world, for May 1993.
1993 was a great period for David Bowie, he never looked better, healthier, more dynamic. He had recovered from the nadir of his career, the 1980s, and was set for a decade which saw a new creative vigour, a decade full of new projects, new directions, a new purpose in his creative life, and who better to document this positive moment in his life than Michel Haddi.
This photo shoot sees a sharply dressed, and impeccably correct David Bowie looking like a gorgeous and iconic movie star from the Italian cinema. He is aware consciously and unconsciously of the camera, seeming to pose nonchalantly, as if he is indifferent to the lens, but intelligently aware of its purpose and of its importance to his own projection.
Michel Haddi, a fashion and celebrity photographer who has produced iconic photography featuring the likes of Johnny Depp, Uma Thurman, Debbie Harry, Cameron Diaz, Nicholas Cage, Angelina Jolie, as well as for high profile fashion magazines such as Vogue, Arena, Vanity Fair, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, and fashion labels like Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy and more, did such an excellent job photographing David Bowie. He produced a David Bowie that gave the impression of being leading fashion statement, contemporary artist, and avant-garde icon, all rolled into one, and with no seams showing.
This luxuriant book is a work of art in its own right, which of course is fitting for its subject matter. This is definitely a classic and collectible publication, and although it does have a price to match, coming in at £300, it is pretty gorgeous. With only 500 copies printed, all of which are numbered, it is what it is meant to be, a piece of art.
This is Michel Haddi’s recording of an artist that made his life a multiple and on-going composition of art. That 1993 recording made by Haddi has now become another composition in book form, it is a case of art leading to art, leading to art. But then that was always part of David Bowie’s life, the projection of life as art. He will be sorely missed.
Michel Haddi’s book The Legend can be purchased from www.boutiquemags.com site.