8-Bit Bowie

/ May 4, 2015 / No Comments / In Pixelated Album Cover Series / By

8-Bit Bowie is the first in my series exploring the near extinct art of the album cover and the photographers and designers responsible. This is just a fun experiment paying homage, one pixel at a time, to some of my favorite designs and uncover a bit of information about the artists behind the work (of whom I know little to nothing about).

“They were in a big bin. I was making a lot of smoke. Negatives don’t burn easily. They make a hell of a lot of smoke.”

—Brian Duffy

Aladdin Sane cover art credits
Photography: Brian Duffy
Direction: Celia Philo
Make-up: Pierre La Roche

Aladdin Sane, the sixth album and follow-up to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, was released in 1973. The cover photo was shot by Brian Duffy, who is generally known for his 60s and 70s rock photography. Speaking to the BBC about the shoot, Duffy noted that “Bowie was interested in the Elvis ring which had the letters TCB as well as a lightning flash.”

Perhaps more interesting than landing a Bowie cover was Duffy’s decision in 1979 to set his work ablaze. Luckily, the authorities intervened before all of his negatives were destroyed, but his son spent years going through the negatives to sort out the damage.

Aladdin Sane Contact Sheet
Contact sheet from Aladdin Sane photo shoot

Nonetheless, the photo shoot resulted in an iconic image and perhaps one of the most well known album covers from the 70s.

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