David Bowie by Jake Chessum

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Photographer: Jake Chessum

Location: London, England

Date: May 1995

Edition: Limited

"I shot David Bowie at a house in Fulham in May 1995. I grew up on Bowie…my friend bought all his albums for £2.99 at Our Price records and taped them for me when we were 15, and we were stoked to see him live at the Milton Keynes Bowl in the summer of ’83 so when I got the call to shoot him for Tatler with some of his art collection there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity.
Armed with a stack of stuff from my collection of vinyl, books and posters for him to sign, I headed off to South West London. When we arrived at the house, somebody opened the door and we were let in. It was a terraced house and at the top of the stairs I could just see his head as he was sitting reading. I can still picture that moment. I was frozen with fear and anticipation. Bowie came down, we were introduced and he made us a cuppa. We headed upstairs to shoot him with a couple of paintings and sculptures. When this was done, I asked if I could just grab a couple of portraits in the back garden. It was a lovely sunny day and I got 1 roll of 35mm and two rolls of 120 film from which the shots here were taken.

He was disarmingly quiet and open, and explained he couldn’t stay in the bright sun because his pupil was frozen after a fight with his friend as a kid. Like I didn’t know the story back to front already.
What I like about these pictures is that they are totally unpretentious: He’s not styled, is not wearing make up or acting in any way. The simplicity is key.
A few months later he was promoting his album “Outside” and had dyed his hair a shocking light brown and was wearing heavy eye make-up. These were just him as he looked every day."

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