Exhibition: Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 – 2002

Something you may not know about me is that I am a bit of a David Bowie fan. I’ve loved him since I was a kid, have all of his studio albums, and have seen him play live a couple of times. It’s been a while since I’ve really given much attention to Bowie, but recently he’s everywhere due to the David Bowie is exhibition at the V&A (which I’ll be going to soon) and his new album, The Next Day.

This has always been my favourite photo of Bowie, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out a little bit more about the photographer…

Kyoto, Japan 1980 © Masayoshi Sukita

Kyoto, Japan 1980 © Masayoshi Sukita

(Image source)

This photo of Bowie in Kyoto was taken by a Japanese photographer called Masayoshi Sukita. Born in Kyushu in 1938, Sukita has worked with Bowie since they met in London in 1972, and is best known for the photograph on the cover of the iconic album Heroes.

Heroes - David Bowie

Heroes – David Bowie
Photograph by Masayoshi Suikita, 1977

(Image source)

If you like the look of Sukita’s work, or if you’re a Bowie fan, I recommend getting down to Snap Galleries in London as soon as possible to catch their exhibition of Sukita’s work, Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 – 2002, which is on until 30th April. It’s only a small exhibition, but absolutely worth seeing!

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

Snap Galleries, London

I only recently realised just how connected to Japan Bowie actually is. Not only are some of the most famous photographs of Bowie taken by a Japanese photographer, he was also known for wearing clothes by Japanese designers. One perfect example of this combination is this 1973 photo by Sukita, in which Bowie is wearing a striped bodysuit for the Aladdin Sane tour, designed by Kansai Yamamoto.

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 1973

Inspired by his photograph-taking father and a love for American movies, Sukita discovered his passion for photography at a young age. In 1965, Sukita moved to Tokyo, taking fashion photographs and filming TV commercials, and in 1970 he became a freelance photographer. After visiting New York frequently between 1970 and 1971 and becoming interested in  the music scene, Sukita finally found himself in London in 1972. Sukita saw a poster for a Bowie concert and felt compelled to go, then managed to secure a meeting with Bowie’s manager. His English was limited, but he managed to prove his ability with his portfolio, and did his first photo-shoot with Bowie in the summer of 1972.

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

Photographs by Masayoshi Sukita, 1972

When Bowie visited Japan in 1973, and many times afterwards, Sukita was always there to accompany and photograph him, resulting in gorgeous shots such as the first one in this post, and this photograph of Bowie in Kyoto, below:

'The Same Old Kyoto' by Masayoshi Sukita, 1980

‘The Same Old Kyoto’ by Masayoshi Sukita, 1980

Bowie clearly thinks quite highly of Sukita, judging by the quote on the wall in the gallery:

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

But then, after working together for more than 40 years, it’s only natural that they should respect one another.

I love the way Sukita captures Bowie’s uniqueness in every image, and seems to focus especially on his eyes. Compare these images from 1972, 1989 and 2002 – they’re all about the eyes!

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 1972

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 1972

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 1989

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 1989

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 2002

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita, 2002

The exhibition is an absolute delight to visit, and all of the photographs are for sale (if you’re feeling rich!). Sukita will be donating part of the proceeds from the sale of the photographs in the exhibition to help the victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

If you don’t have any money (like me), catalogue are free:

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

Bags and T-shirts are also for sale:

Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 - 2002, Snap galleries, London

This exhibition could really have done with being bigger and on for longer, but I’m hoping it’s just a taster for what will be on display at the V&A – I can’t wait! If you have time, catch Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 – 2002 at Snap Galleries (London, SW1Y 6NH) before the end of April!

4 thoughts on “Exhibition: Masayoshi Sukita: Photographs of David Bowie, 1972 – 2002

    • Oh that’s too bad. 😦 The Bowie exhibition is still on at the V&A and has some great stuff. I think tickets are getting harder to get, but it’s absolutely worth going! I’ll be posting about it soon…

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s