Steve Schapiro: I Shot Bowie

3.14.2013

By Steve Schapiro

The photographer explains his 12-hour 1974 session, singing karaoke 'Space Oddity'

Photograph by Steve Schapiro

The first time I shot Bowie was in L.A. in 1974. We started at 4 in the afternoon and ended at 4 in the morning. He’d come out in these incredible outfits, and before I could shoot he’d say, “No, no, wait a minute,” and would run off and come back in something completely different. Very often the person you are photographing gives much more than what you bring to it, and that’s certainly true with Bowie. His mind is very quick -- he’ll invent things immediately, which go off in a totally different direction. I love the video for his new single, “Where Are We Now?” for the same reason -- it’s nothing you would expect and it doesn’t feed off his former images. I love his Thin White Duke phase and his early work. I was in a hostel in London recently with my son and my wife, and they were hosting a karaoke night. I sang “Space Oddity.”

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