Walking around the centre of Bologne and perchance meeting the man who has been the most significant photographer in the career of David Bowie causes a strange effect.
As a common Japanese tourist Masayoshi Sukita crosses Piazza Maggiore with his loyal nephew and assistant Akihisa, observing the beautiful city of Bologne and keeping in his hand a little digital camera! If it weren’t for what he was proudly wearing I wouldn’t notice him. His t-shirt with the logo of the album Blackstar is probably a sign of his love for the friend who passed away a few months ago, and for his last masterpiece.
This genius of photography has been the only one among his collegues to be a costant in Bowie’s career, thanks to the common friendship. The first session was a formal appointment to document the newborn Ziggy in August 1972, the last one a casual meeting in the city of New York in October 2009, when David was auto-exiliating from public life and was apparently “dead” as a musician. Between these two dates several working and informal meetings. The first live dates in Tokyo in April 1973, the session for the cover of “Heroes”, a 1978 concert, a pleasure travel in Kyoto in 1980, the Japanese press review for the Serious Moonlight Tour in 1983, the Tin Machine reincarnation…
When later in the afternoon Sukita arrives at the Gallery Ono Arte for the inauguration of ICONS, his exhibition dedicated also to the other two godfathers of glam Marc Bolan and Iggy Pop, he is still wearing his Blackstar t-shirt, with just a more formal jacket.
In the next two hours it’s incredible the goodness and the kindness of this elderly man toward everyone arrived here to admire his photos. His simplicity and humbleness signing autographs and playing for memory pictures reveals how far and alien is the Japanese culture from our Western mentality. He is very patient and a bit curious signing our old edition of his photographic book from the Eighties or joining us to make some polaroids that had apparently some technical problems. Really tender the affection and the attention of Akihisa for his uncle: really helpful for the visitors to overtake the linguistic gap.
The atmosphere at the Ono Arte was very proper to enjoy the exhibition. To move among the iper-colorful shots of Ziggy, the black and white poses of Marc and the crazy faces of Iggy got me into an unreal atmosphere, a suspension of reality: watching the photos on the wall and turning to the close Sukita who is still signing autographs or smiling to his acolytes.
Before in Piazza Maggiore we felt a little guilty to disturb the master for a few seconds, but he smiled and shaked our hands. While Akihisa assured to meet later, Masayoshi was already walking to the shadow of San Petronio Basilica, maybe looking for some foreshortings to get with his digital camera.