As often happens, a few days ago I was wandering around the net looking for news about David and, suddenly, I came across an image never seen before: a black and white portrait of a young David absorbed in reading, his thin face and the unmistakable hairstyle of the “Plastic Soul” period, wearing a simple Scottish shirt. The photo showed a signature, B. Vartan Boyajian. I thought of posting it in our Facebook group, to see if anyone had any more information about it and a user reported to me the page of the photographer: there I found an e-mail address, so I tried to contact him to get some information and, to my delight and surprise, I received a prompt reply with this moving remembrance that I quote to you in full
Thanks for interest.
The photo was taken at a chance meeting in the late 1970’s – I was traveling by train and decided to have dinner in the dining car – this is when we still had dining cars with waiters and chefs.
I was sitting alone at a table for 4 people when in walked David Bowie with a woman and a large man who I assumed was his security person. There were no other tables available so much to my surprise David asked if they could sit at my table. I of course was very excited as we sat and talked about his music and how he just finished a concert in New York City and was now on his way to Montreal. I remember him saying that he did not like flying much and that is why he was on the train. As for his music, he told me that most of it was thought up in dreams.
Funny thing happened during our dinner, a young guy walks through the dining car with “painters pants” on and the next thing I know Bowie whispers something to his body guard – the body guard leaves and 5 minutes later returns with the painters pants! (pant’s that had pockets down the side of the legs – in fashion back at the time).
We were about to finish dinner and I told Bowie that I was a photographer and was wondering if I could take his photo – he agreed but I could only take one photo and without a flash, he said he did not want to draw attention to himself. So we went to the bar car and I was able to get that “one” shot – slightly underexposed as my Leica M3 did not have a meter.
It is a memory that I will never forget. My photography career has lead me to spend time with other celebrities including Frank Sinatra and Ringo Starr and many more but the Bowie meeting was really special.
I do sometimes think about how great it would have been if I would have begged for a job with David to be his personal photographer but I was too shy. He was an amazing musician and I cried the day he died but at least we still have his music.
We thank Mr Vartan Boyajian for sharing this precious testimony with us and for giving us the publication: we are happy and proud to be able to make it known to our readers too!
If you want to know the work of the photographer, this is his website: http://bvbphotography.com/