Mick Rock Featured on NPR "The Picture Show"

April 7, 2012 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography

Photographer Mick Rock in New York City, 2011

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Photographer Mick Rock in New York City, 2011
Via NPR The Picture Show
Mick Rock is really his name — though he's Michael to his mother — and he is exactly what you might imagine a rock photographer to be: tall and hip with shaggy hair. Shaded Ray-Bans, jean jacket, scarf. Oh, and an English accent to boot — so he can drop words like "bloody" and "shag" with allure (though he doesn't shy from the American equivalents, either).

"In any other era, dogs wouldn't have pissed on me," he says. "Thank God for Mick and Keith," who helped make lanky, messy Englishmen cool. He's referring to the Rolling Stones, of course.
Now in his 60s, Rock remembers the '70s well. Or, parts of them. And it goes without saying that the times have changed.

"The world is swamped with media today," he says. "I go to an event and I get photographed. Shoot the bloody photographer? What the hell is that about?"

On a recent night in Washington, D.C., for example, the cameras click incessantly (guilty) as Rock gives a few words at the opening of his aptly titled traveling photo show, Rocked. It originated in New York City, and it's hosted and produced by the W Hotel chain where, these days, Rock can be found shooting live concerts.

After his remarks, some high-heeled women and suited men (remember this is D.C.) trickle into a ballroom where they sip on cocktails and politely wait for a band to start playing. Meanwhile, Rock's prints of Iggy Pop, David Bowie and the likes adorn the surrounding walls, watching down, it seems, on what has become of rock. (Bowie would have worn the heels AND the suit, for heaven's sake.)
"Back then," Rock says wistfully in an interview the next day, "well, it was the age of sex, drugs and rock and roll, of course."

Tags: Lou Reed The Seventies David Bowie rock photography Iggy Pop