This is my all-time, favorite image of David Bowie, period. No second guessing, no question… at all. I know it’s a bold statement to make considering the countless, fantastic images that have been taken of this rock and roll chameleon throughout his career. But not surprising, this image also happens to be one of Bowie’s favorite images of himself.
Back in 1988, my wife (then girlfriend/fiancée) gave me this large framed image as a gift and have pretty much had it adorning one wall or another in our home since then. It is such powerful image that it never fails to make me stop and admire Rowlands’ perspective: the lighting, the clothes and the pose Bowie took when the image was captured.
What I find amazing about this photograph is that it is not a studio capture at all. The image was taken during the 1976 Station To Station / Isolar Tour, just 30 feet from the stage, just as Bowie was preparing to ‘fire’ his imaginary bow and arrow. Rowland captured the iconic pose just moments before the lighting engineer followed Bowie’s cue and killed the stage lights.
Recently, this image was produced from the original negative and has been re-created as an edition of 100 prints in 3 sizes. The numbered prints are hand-signed in pencil by both David Bowie and John Rowlands. ‘The Archer’ is available here.
[image © 1976 John Rowlands]