Arts Review: Bowie Unseen celebrates the handsome and chameleon artist in a series of rare photographs

David Bowie may have been Messer Jones, Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke. But there was no question that this chameleon artist was also one handsome and photogenic man. Blender Gallery are celebrating this with a new exhibition titled Bowie Unseen, which is also part of the Head On Photo Festival.

Bowie Unseen includes a series of 24 photographs from celebrity photographer, Markus Klinko. He is someone who has photographed many different artists over the years. Klinko is perhaps best known for having shot the album covers for Beyoncé’s Dangerously in Love and Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi, as well as directing Bowie’s music video for “Valentine’s Day.”

The shots that form the basis of this exhibition include ones that were taken as part of the Heathen record cover sessions plus a series that were used when David was named GQ’s Man of the Year. The pictures include black and white ones of a very dapper and pensive-looking Bowie in a tweed suit as well as some colourful ones where he poses with either a cigarette or an antique telescope.

The GQ Man of the Year shots features Bowie’s head transposed over the top of a male body double who poses with some rather frightening and rough-looking wolves. The dogs had to be smuggled into Klinko’s studio and professionally wrangled. There are also a couple of famous Bowie shots featured in the gallery, including Terry O’Neill’s “Diamond Dogs” portrait and Brian Duffy’s colourful Aladdin Sane pictures.

Markus Klinko’s intense and playful photographic session with the late and great David Bowie is celebrated here with this exhibit of wonderful shots. On the one hand, you have some private, serious and thoughtful pictures, as well as some moments that seem like brief and fleeting moments that Klinko was fortunate enough to have captured because they show Bowie being spontaneous, creative and simply glorious. These rare pictures all share that stylish elegance and charismatic aura that David Bowie lived and breathed and is proof positive that this beloved artist really was a true starman.

Bowie Unseen is on display at Blender Gallery until June 3. For more information please visit: https://blendergallery.com/

Photo credit: Marcus Klinko