There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In the late ’60s, Mick Rock (his given name) ended up in London with a secondhand camera he had picked up during his last term at Cambridge, taking photos for album covers and Rolling Stone and briefly working with Hipgnosis, the design team that created psychedelic album covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. Although his first important subject was the reclusive Syd Barrett, whom he photographed for The Madcap Laughs and Barrett, Rock also spent a good deal of time hanging with other extreme characters of early-’70s rock ‘n’ roll. Rock’s covers for Lou Reed’s Transformer and Coney Island Baby, and Iggy and the Stooges’ (pictured) Raw Power are powerful images from the pre-punk, visually edgy glam era. And in David Bowie, Rock found a collaborator who wanted to take musical culture somewhere entirely new and required potent images for the trip: Besides album covers, Rock and Bowie made a number of arty 16 mm promo films for Bowie singles. In the late ’70s, Rock moved from London to New York just in time to photograph Blondie, Talking Heads, and the Dead Boys. Oddly, for all its anti-image posturing, punk looks very much like glam in Rock’s lens. Even today, Rock’s images from the period when rock music became forever wedded to visual experimentation have pop-cultural resonance. Rock’s photographs are on view Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to Saturday, May 8, at Govinda Gallery, 1227 34th St. NW. Free. (202) 333-1180. (John Dugan)