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David Bowie smoking by Mick Rock at MoPOP.png
David Bowie smoking by Mick Rock at MoPOP. (Image: Mick Rock)

MoPop shows fans a never-before-seen side of David Bowie

Sex, drugs and rock n' roll! There's a new exhibit peeling back the layers and exposing a side of David Bowie never seen before.

David Bowie practically invented the term glam rock during the glitter years of the early 1970s. With his gender bending personas, wild outfits and unforgettable songs, he paved the way for a whole new generation of rock star. Now an intimate look backstage at Bowie's rise to super stardom is on display at Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) and Refined got the story behind the photos from the man who was Bowie's personal photographer.

"He said really cool things," said Mick Rock, photographer. "And, he looked so fantastic and the music was amazing."

Described as "The man who shot the seventies," Mick Rock was a fly on the wall for Bowie's groundbreaking glam phase.

"The first photograph I ever shot of him, only in the few recent months have I been showing it around," explained Rock. "And, it's right over there on the wall and he's back stage and Birmingham Town Hall, thinking about his performance that night. I think because I got to interview him, I got to know his likes and dislikes, his philosophical views. And, one thing I did find out is he was very focused on the idea of being a star. And of course, you listen to Ziggy Stardust the album, which was recorded before he was a star, and it's pure projection. He goes on about how I can make it all worthwhile as a rock and roll star."

"Bowie by Mick Rock" features dozens of photographs from dressing room shots of Bowie's transformation into Ziggy Stardust, to live performances, to his most private moments between gigs.

"He obviously did trust me," continued Rock. "At the time, I didn't even think about that, I didn't question it. Because look at all the access I got. And he's clowning for the cameras at times too. I obviously didn't disturb his concentration too much. And he was playful. He was fun to shoot. He was game."

Also on display are Rock's candid and uncensored photos of music icons like Lou Reed, Freddy Mercury, Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry. The exhibit also includes a walking tour narrated by Rock himself about Bowie's intimate backstage moments.

Rock wants visitors to enjoy how fabulous his dear friend looked and how much variety there is in photographs.

"He was on all of the time," said Rock. "But, he was also a very charming man. I think he brought out the best in the people he worked with, the people he surrounded himself with.'

See the rise of Ziggy Stardust and get tickets online.