"He [Sharah] would have a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, grubby make-up kit (he would treat his makeup box just like a palette - he was a bit Jackson Pollock in that respect, there was makeup everywhere)." - Sara Raeburn
David Bowie pictured behind the scenes in 1980. Makeup artist Richard Sharah is seen here applying the iconic 'Pierrot' look to Bowie. Natasha Korniloff was also present who designed and created the Pierrot clown outfit used for the shoot and then again for the record-breaking music video for 'Ashes to Ashes.' The makeup took one and a half hours before the session to create Bowie's desired look.
Taken by Duffy during the last of the Five Sessions with David Bowie in 1980. 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.
Our Standard Archival Quality Pigment Ink Print is 7.5″x 5″ (19.05cm x 12.7cm) in 12″x12″ (30.48cm x 30.48cm) Mounts - handmade and printed in the Duffy Archive from the original photographic negatives.
All of our images are ready to frame, supplied with a choice of either a black or white acid-free mount. A mount is a paper-based border around framed images between the frame and the image. The mount adds an extra decorative element and also prevents the image from making contact with the glass. Our Standard Size open edition prints are the same size as a 12" vinyl album sleeve for convenient framing.
As with all our prints, each open edition is embossed with the Duffy Archive stamp. The reverse of each frame has a sticker detailing the history of the session and a hand-stamped logo from Duffy's old camera cases.
The fascinating story behind this timeless session is fully documented in the Duffy Bowie Five Sessions Book told by those who were there. Including Chris Duffy who said of the session – "It was kind of a kooky shoot really, what with three people shooting David and then the record cover ends up as a painting, how mad is that?"
"Talent hits a target no-one else can hit. Genius hits a target no-one else can see." - Arthur Schopenhauer