It was 1974 when photographer Steve Schapiro got the call. Michael Pittman was on the phone. As Schapiro remembers, “He asked me, ‘Would you like to photograph David Bowie?’ and before he finished the sentence, I said, ‘Yes!’” Bowie was big, a shooting star. Schapiro didn’t know what to expect, but that just made things more interesting.
A LIFE photographer, Schapiro photographed the greats from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali to Marlon Brando and Ray Charles. Schapiro’s photographs capture the essence of his subjects, leaving us with a piece of their soul that exists to connect and reconnect us to the profound humanity that lies deep in the flesh. With Bowie, the connection Schapiro made was as good as it gets.
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Photo: Bowie in his dressing room trailer, combing his hair, on the set of The Man Who Fell to Earth, New Mexico, 1975.