AN INTERVIEW WITH THE LEGENDARY PHOTOGRAPHER ANDREW KENT
This October PSG has published a new photographic book by Andrew Kent, with some contributions of Neal Preston and Cameron Crowe. The American photographer started his career during the Summer of Love and in the following years he made some wonderful portraits of ‘rock gods’ during the Seventies, from Black Sabbath to Frank Zappa. After a decade spent immortalizing crazy tours become legendary, Kent suddenly decided to abandon the world of rock and changed completely his life. But we still remember him for the last image of Jim Morrison in America, the cover of Iggy Pop’s album Lust For Life or several intimate photos shot during the incredible years spent besides the Thin White Duke.
We have contacted Kent to know something more about his collaboration with David Bowie. The man who retired among the mountains of Idaho almost 40 years ago accorded us to ask him some questions.
Mr. Kent, your new book DAVID BOWIE BEHIND THE CURTAIN will be published this October, with new and unreleased photos. Could you please say something about your favourite one?
HK: My favourite unpublished photo of David Bowie is the Neal Preston’s one, on the forward page. He is smoking heavy with a dark background with Neal’s words reversed in the background. Warren (Winter, publisher of PSG, NdR) found it I never saw it before.
The strangest or the craziest thing you eyewitnessed during the incredible travel through the Soviet Union in 1976 with David, Iggy and Coco.
HK: I think the strangest thing was being taken off our train headed to Helsinki via Moscow. We were taken off by an albino KGB officer and he said “we weren’t expecting YOU…” after all, paperwork was complete and correct!!!
You’ve been very close to David Bowie for a long period, so you had the privilege to know either Mr. Jones and Mr. Bowie. Do you think he has really made you know the real David or somehow was elusive even when he could be himself?
HK: I think so. One can feel if someone is putting you on! I felt I knew both. Different situations show different aspects of one’s personality. I was with David Bowie thru’ many different times and my respect just grew.
You toured with David in 1976 and in 1978. Which is your favourite period of his carreer?
HK: Clearly my most favourite period would have to be the Isolar tour (after the release of Station to Station). I attended all earlier tours including his first US show in Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Of course I spent much more time on the 1976 tour. The Iggy’s Us/European tour which followed was like a continuation of Isolar. In my career David Bowie was my above all my most favorite assignment considering it to be my best work, my most enjoyable time, best pay, and the cap of my career! I retired from the music work in 1978 to live in Sun Valley in Idaho, to fly fish and to photograph fine art of world class quality… and here I am!!!
I consider these days very strange because sadly David Bowie physically doesn’t exist anymore but he mainly lives in the digital world of the Net with several videos, images and music recordings. Now more than the past few years. What do you think about?
HK: I think he was stolen from us! Life can be unfair and cruel. I was unaware of his health status and I was as surprised and heartsick of his demise!! I can only try to represent David as fairly and honestly as I can.
DAVID BOWIE BEHIND THE CURTAIN can be ordered at the following link www.bowiebehindthecurtain.com, and it is be available in three different editions.
Interview conceived and conducted by Matteo Tonolli (with Elena Mattirolo)