Scary Monsters Smoking - 1980

David Bowie Scary Monsters Smoking

This image was included on the stamp design around the edge of the "Ashes to Ashes" single. The 7" was released 1st August 1980 on RCA records and had three cover variants all shot by Duffy. The graphic markings on the single sleeves were done by Bowie with a marker pen. Some copies of the record came with an extra sheet of Duffy images made to look like postage stamps.

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.

This outfit and makeup were also worn in the 'Ashes to Ashes' music video released in 1980. Images from the shoot were featured in all three different cover versions of the 7" single.

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.

Quote ref: Z-1649-07 if you require press information regarding this image.

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