Taken by Duffy during the last of the Five Sessions with David Bowie in 1980 in a costume designed by Natasha Korniloff. Bowie asked Korniloff to make him ‘The most beautiful clown in the circus.’ She described David as ‘Always a lot of fun to work with.’ David's New Romantic/Commedia dell'arte variant outfit was a throwback to his earliest costume experience, starring in Lindsay Kemp's Pierrot In Turquoise - a costume also designed by the late Natasha Kornilof.
By 1980 Duffy was winding down his photographic career. His studio was no longer filled with cameras, lights and famous faces of the era. It was replaced with tools for his new venture - antique furniture restoration. Without a studio or assistant, Duffy turned to his son Chris for a venue to shoot David Bowie, the only person who could persuade him to get back behind the lens. Bowie began to pose as the perfect pierrot, throughout the session distressing his look until he was reduced to a disheveled, smeared, smoking clown. Much like the Lodger shoot little over a year before, Bowie had employed Duffy as the photographer in collaboration with a graphic artist, a position filled this time by Edward Bell who Duffy had previously introduced to Bowie. After the shoot, Duffy took his chosen image to Edward Bell to add his graphic contribution. Fully expecting Edward Bell to paint directly onto his print, Duffy's image was almost completely obscured by Bell's painting. Although David loved the cover, Duffy was deeply hurt that his photograph had been despoiled by Bell.
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