Mick Rock, the inimitable photographer responsible for some of rock & roll’s most iconic portraits is the subject of Barnaby Clay’s feature documentary, pieced together in the playful DIY spirit of Glam and Punk music.
Before David Bowie came along, Mick Rock hadn’t done a lot of performance photography, but once he started, he found that he could not stop. As a photographer, Rock was at once on the inside looking out at the rest of the world, alongside our idols with their vices, documenting the frolic of madness backstage, and in candid, quieter moments. He became so deeply entrenched in this lifestyle that he almost died from it.
“I don’t think I had a clue where I was going, but I was going to be going there anyway.” – Mick Rock
SHOT! THE PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL MANTRA OF ROCK is an odyssey into the colorful and bohemian tales of rock ‘n’ roll’s history. A cinematic adventure that delves deep into the mind of one of rock’s greatest living photographers: Mick Rock.
Throughout the film, Mick Rock navigates his story from the glam rock shimmer of London to the snarl of NYC punk, and deep into the new millennium, at times turning inward to face himself and his experiences as the visual record-keeper of myths and legends.
Mick’s now infamous images of the likes of David Bowie, Queen, Syd Barrett (Founding member of Pink Floyd), Blondie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop are now imprinted on our collective psyche forever and generations to come.
Director Barnaby Clay said that when he was asked to make a film about Mick Rock and his work, it was easy to accept, given that he’d grown up immersed in Rock’s images, some of them serving as bookmarks to key moments of his life. When the two met, Clay says that it was clear that Mick Rock is charming, witty and shambolic – all great attributes to tell an interesting story.
After talking with the photographer, Clay said that the natural arc to his story became apparent: Guy jumps on the fame wagon, rides it too far and too fast, nearly dies, but survives to tell the tale. “It’s an old, even clichéd story, however when you feed it through the filter of Mick’s romanticized, glammed up, psychedelic vision, it begins to get interesting.” Clay decided to tell this story from Mick Rock’s perspective, at a time when he was facing death. Not only is it dramatic, but it also allows for a certain theatrical element that is naturally part of the ‘glam’ rock aesthetic.
Contemporary musicians like TV On The Radio, Father John Misty, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) star in the film, and for the psychedelic score, The Flaming Lips and Steven Drozd, the band’s musical mastermind, created a soundtrack that could sit alongside classics from the period.