Twenty years ago, Markus Klinko photographed David Bowie for the late rock legend’s 2002 album, Pagan, imagining him as different characters through hundreds of dramatic portraits. At the time, Bowie described the outing as “deeply questioning”, which was reflected through Klinko’s lens: in one shot, Bowie is walking a huge wolf and in another he is cradling a newborn baby. – weird Bowie twists, given the stylized look and brilliant treatment Klinko became famous for in the early 2000s (he also shot the Mariah Carey movie Mimi’s Emancipation and Beyoncé’s Dangerously in love).
Now, Klinko is leaning into the next generation of music — and celebrating two decades since collaborating with Bowie — by tapping into TikTok star Huddy. Fresh off the release of her debut album in 2021, teenage broken heartHuddy has evolved what it means to embrace rock in the internet age, between songs like “America’s Sweetheart” and “21st Century Vampire.” For Klinko, Huddy “has true rock star charisma”, and amplified it in a special shoot paying homage to the Starman himself (glitter, jewels and smokey eye, included).
This shoot is inspired by David Bowie. How are you inspired by the late rock legend?
Huddy: I love seeing the influence he’s had on other people’s lives. He’s an iconic person that I see people in costume every Halloween. The impact he had through the music, through the photos and through the way he behaved inspires me.
In what ways do you strive to challenge the conventions of rock music, Bowie-style?
Huddy: I just want to inspire people with my music the same way people were inspired by Bowie in his day. I want people to listen to my music and inspire them in a way that other rock artists don’t. I want to unlock another part of their brain and open their imagination to all possibilities, and paint a visual picture the same way as reading a book.
“You can’t deny the face of a rock star when you see one.” –Huddy
What was it like working with such an iconic photographer like Markus Klinko? Did you learn anything from being on set with him?
Huddy: I learned that even when there are few hits, every hit is important. Every angle is important. Every side of your face is important. Every expression is important. I learned that whatever your age, rock music can make you feel like a kid again. He said he was inspired by my music and my aesthetic, and you can’t deny the face of a rock star when you see one. It stuck with me.
How do you personally connect with the glam rock style?
Huddy: I appreciate significance and attention to detail. I love the expressive and artistic visuals that are an integral part of glam rock. It’s something that inspires a lot of music videos today, as well as their scenes and settings when they happen. It’s something that really stands out.
What inspires you about Huddy and what was it like working with him on set?
Markus Klinko: Huddy impressed me. He has a real rock star charisma, which goes far beyond good looks. He is a passionate artist, who takes his profession very seriously and who devotes himself to it for the long term. I think we only see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his career.
Having toured so many music icons, including David Bowie, how do you think music culture has changed over the years?
Markus Klinko: I started doing a lot of work with labels in the early 2000s. At that time, there was really only one way for a musical artist to get their work out: by working with record companies. . For me, as a photographer, that meant approaching a lot of these big album shoots almost like a big ad campaign. I loved it. Today, artists must above all mark themselves, which is why the importance of social networks is paramount. The roles of the label have therefore changed. But I think we’re starting to see a return to high-end photography, because people are getting bored with Instagram-like visuals. Brands and labels are again looking for a more substantial way to work with music artists.
“[Huddy] has real rock star charisma, which goes far beyond good looks.” –Markus Klinko
How did you decide to connect the dots between David Bowie and Huddy?
Markus Klinko: Having worked with Bowie on his last major production shoot for the cover of Pagan, and seeing the huge success of this work in the art gallery world, I was interested in finding a new current artist to collaborate with, as a tribute to Bowie’s 75th birthday, as well as my own 20 years of working with Bowie. I felt Huddy had all the right aspects to do this glam rock homage. I didn’t want to make a simple reference to Bowie, but rather a glam rock focus. I was also thinking of Brian Ferry, for example.
I used projected red light strips for the twinkling close-ups, which I thought was a great way to update and modernize the concepts seen in typical glam rock photos of that era. But I couldn’t resist being inspired by an old image of Bowie in the back of a chauffeured limo, with paparazzi chasing him. I had an old Rolls Royce sent to the set and reinterpreted that idea to suit Huddy. I had so much fun with it.
What is your best memory of working with David Bowie?
Markus Klinko: There were a lot, but I like to remember the day he came to my studio in Soho while I was making this big sexy movie QG shoot with half-naked models running around the set, with nothing but towels around them. David looked around, smiled and said it reminded him of the 70s. Then he added, “Not that I remember anything from the 70s.”