Terry O’Neill Diamond Dog David Bowie, Bowie took charge of his own image during their sessions, particularly for their Diamond Dogs shoot, where the singer had a specific, animalistic, bare-chested pose in mind. He also brought a dog on to the set, which jumped up in shock at the flash of the strobe lighting, perfectly capturing the kind of avant-garde chaos Bowie had intended for his dystopian album, influenced by George Orwell’s 1984.
Over a 20-year period, O’Neill captured Bowie’s shapeshifting artistry better than just about anybody else, standing behind the camera as the Space Oddity singer transformed into theatrical glam avatar Ziggy Stardust, then morphed into the coke-addled Thin White Duke, who in 1976 notoriously told Rolling Stone’s Cameron Crowe: “I think I might have been a bloody good Hitler. I’d be an excellent dictator.” Although, O’Neill claims: “I don’t actually remember him saying that stuff.”
His last magazine shoot with Bowie in 1992 was shot like a sentimental happy ending, with O’Neill’s warm close-ups giving off the impression he was delighted the star had managed to make it out of the 1970s alive. “It felt like we had come full circle,” he agrees.
Kate Moss by Terry O’Neill