The Companion

Home Index FAQ Encyclopaedia Timeline Songs Gallery E-mail

  The Jean Genie
by Ian Dickson

Box cover - Illustration by NME cartoonist Ray Lowry

Ian's website, portfolio and purchase information available here:

A "Special Order Portfolio Series" box-set of seven Ziggy Stardust photographs called "The Jean Genie" is available for online purchase.

The set consists of seven original 14" x 11" photographs of David Bowie performing live at Newcastle City Hall - all taken by photographer Ian Dickson. Five of the photos of Bowie as Ziggy Stardust are from 7 January 1973 while two are from the previous year - 2 June 1972. Each photo is signed by Ian Dickson.  Included is a copy of Ian's autobiographical booklet called "Hired Gun - The Story of A Freelance Photographer.

The box-sets can be purchased in Standard or Deluxe Editions:

DeLuxe Edition Box Sets / 325 each (Fibre-base prints, corner- mounted in hinged archival mounts, signed on reverse.)

Standard Edition Box Sets / 200 each (Resin-coated prints in fixed standard mounts.)

All of the images are also available as individual prints. The photographs are handprinted on fibre-base paper and are available in three sizes - Box Set (95) Portfolio (150) and Exhibition (275). Each print is identified, authenticated and signed on the reverse and prices include guaranteed delivery by Federal Express or Recorded Delivery.

dicksong.jpg (5021 bytes)

Newcastle City Hall (7 January 1973)

Background to the 1973 photographs

Despite MainMan having a ban on unauthorized photography at Bowies concerts at the time (Only Mick Rock was authorized by MainMan to photograph Bowie), Ian, following a request for live pictures of David Bowie by Disc magazine's editor, devised a plan with theatre manager Bob Brown to photograph David Bowie surreptitiously.

"Bob Brown was the manager of the City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north-east of England where I was living at that time. In fact, Bob had insisted that I come along to the Hall whenever I wanted to, to photograph the bands that played there and when I explained the position with DeFries (and his ban) it was Bob who came up with the plan. Bob Brown turned me into a rock music photographer. It's all his fault! And that's why the biography that's included in each box set is dedicated to him, without whose help etc etc....

The best example of Bob Brown's capability arose when David Bowie, in the guise of Ziggy Stardust, was due in early January 1973. I had taken some pictures of the androgynous star earlier, in June 1972, but this next time was to be something else, of a different order entirely. Gavin Petrie had called me to ask if there was any way I could get some pictures in spite of the ban that Tony DeFries, Bowie's MainMan manager had put on any "unauthorized" photography. I told him I'd see what I could do and went to see Bob. Over a glass or two of the usual, he suggested a plan whereby I would become an usher for the evening, complete with torch and armband, with my Nikon concealed under my jacket. Just be discreet, advised Bob, pouring out yet another measure of Johnny Walker - purely for medicinal purposes, as I was nursing a particularly heavy cold!

Came the night of the gig and my temperature was sky-high, but I wanted those pictures and so I turned up fully-wrapped to combat the chills, with my camera and a 105mm lens tucked under my coat. At that time, there were no professional armies of heavy-handed security teams used at gigs. The job of marshalling the fans fell to a handful of regular kids who were also music fans. All they did it for was to get in to see the bands for free, and, as I've stated before, I was a regular feature at the Hall, so there were no raised eyebrows when I turned up wearing my "camouflage" and I got my pictures without any problems, apart from running out of Kleenex.

Decca's The World of David Bowie (1973)

The pictures were used by Disc in January 1973 and I had my first scoop. A few weeks later, Decca Records rang me to talk about using the Disc cover shot on a re-issue album of Bowie's earlier work on that label. I'm afraid all this went to my head a bit, because I granted them the use of the picture with little regard to its application. It was later that I realised that the photograph of Bowie, as his alter-ego Ziggy, had no relation whatsoever to his work on the Decca label. Oh well, you live and learn I suppose, but the profile it gave me did me no harm..." - Ian Dickson

Ian Dickson has been photographing rock stars since 1972 and his work has appeared in Disc, Record Mirror, New Musical Express, Sounds, Vox, Mojo, Q, Rolling Stone and elsewhere over the years. In 1992, he held his first exhibition in London followed by several around Europe, with considerable success. In 1994, a selection of his work was shown at the MTV Awards in Berlin, at the Brit Awards at Alexandra Palace, and at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo and Copenhagen.


2 June 1972 - Newcastle City Hall

2 June 1972 - Newcastle City Hall
Review of this concert (Mick Nixon)


A feature on his portfolio was published in the March 1995 issue of Q magazine and in August that year, he was recognised by the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame And Museum with his Rod Stewart "pajama portrait" ("Images Of Rock And Roll", Rolling Stone Press). An Eric Clapton and a Muddy Waters were added in February 2000 and in September a book of his punk photographs (entitled "Flash Bang Wallop!") will be published by Abstract.

He currently lives with his wife Shoko in the south-coast seaside town of Brighton.

Ian's website, portfolio and purchase information available here:

---This page last modified: 12 Dec 2018---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)