Forty years ago, on 14 October 1977, David Bowie unleashed his “Heroes” album on the world.

The cover photograph, taken by Japanese master photographer Masayoshi Sukita, needs no introduction to David Bowie aficionados. It is one of the key cover photographs in music photography.

The history

April 1977. What a time to have been a fly on the wall. Iggy Pop had released his debut album The Idiot in March 1977, with David Bowie in the producer’s chair, and the following month, both musicians visited Tokyo to promote the album. Masayoshi Sukita photographed them on their trip, at the airport, press conference and in their hotel rooms.

During their trip Sukita-san also arranged an impromptu shoot. The location was a rented studio in Harajuku, Tokyo, which Sukita-san had borrowed at very short notice from a photographer friend. There was no time for planning.

The studio was very small — usually it was the setting for close up product shoots — and the two artists took it in turns to sit at the table. David went first. Iggy second. The session was finished within two hours. At that point, in April 1977, nobody knew that one of the images from that session would appear on the cover of “Heroes”.

Sukita-san explains: “Rather than sending everything from a shoot, I always selected photos by myself first and David understood and respected that this was “my way”. So after they left Japan, I selected and printed around ten or so photographs that I liked. I sent them to David. Months later, he asked me if I was happy if one of them was used for cover of his upcoming album — and it so happened that the one which both I and David liked the most was used as the “Heroes” album cover image.”

The limited edition

Today we announce the release of a very special large format version of Masayoshi Sukita’s twelve frame contact sheet featuring that iconic cover image. The “Heroes” cover photograph appears in the top right hand corner.

The contact sheet is available as a signed limited edition in two physical size options, each one signed and numbered on the front under the image area by Masayoshi Sukita. These physical size options are larger than Sukita-san’s typical sizings — to enable the viewer to better appreciate the individual frames.

The smaller of the two versions is made on 30 x 40 inch paper, an edition of 20 worldwide, and each individual frame measures approximately 7 x 7 inches. The larger version is made in a staggering 48 x 60 inch paper size, an edition of 10 worldwide, where each individual frame comes out at approximately 11 x 11 inches. It looks incredible in this ultra-large format.

We are taking orders now. Click here, or on the button below, to view price information and make your purchase. Prices are shown for unframed pieces, but we can organise framing for UK customers.

Buy the “Heroes” contact sheet