During the collaboration Bowie and Schapiro kidded and laughed about shooting a series of close-up portraits on a putrid green background because they felt it was the worst possible background color for a magazine cover, and so they shot one on a lark—the image eventually became a People magazine cover in 1976.
The first photo session started at four in the afternoon and went through the night until dawn. Bowie went through countless costume changes, each one seemingly befitting an entirely new and unknown Bowie persona. Most incredible, from a vantage point some 40 years later, was the costume and doodles of a particular session: Bowie dressed in blue slacks and cropped shirt, painted with diagonal white stripes, and scribbling what appears to be a diagram from the Kabbalah. They show up again in the video accompanying the song “Lazarus” on the Blackstar album.
The book is a delight for Bowie fans of all intensities and degrees, Bowie provides a rare look at a remarkable musical genius in the throes of creative exploration.
Steve Schapiro is a distinguished journalistic photographer whose pictures have graced the covers of Vanity Fair, Time, Sports Illustrated, Life, Look, Paris Match, and People, and are found in many museum collections. He has published six books of his work, American Edge, Schapiro’s Heroes, The Godfather Family Album, Taxi Driver, Then and Now, and Bliss.