The book contains the very best of Brian Aris’s photographs of David Bowie from 1985 to 2000, accompanied by Brian’s stories behind the sessions.
Brian met David Bowie for the first time in 1985, while shooting backstage at Live Aid at Wembley stadium. Brian recalls: “David’s arrival behind the scenes took me by surprise, as his low-key manner was so much at odds with his on-stage image. Here was a quiet, well-dressed, softly spoken but obviously very articulate man, politely shaking hands with all the backstage crew as he introduced himself.” The pictures were taken quickly, David posing with Bob Geldof and then on his own. Brian was at Wembley in 1986 to witness David Bowie and Mick Jagger perform “Dancing In The Street”, and photographed him again at the wedding of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates.
He photographed David in Dublin in 1991, both in a studio setting and on stage at close quarters playing live at The Baggot Inn with Tin Machine. He accompanied David Bowie to Rome in October 1991 when the band played at the Teatro Brancaccio. In 1992 David asked him to photograph the rehearsals at Bray Studios for the tribute to Freddie Mercury, and the subsequent performance at Wembley.
In June 1992 Brian photographed David and Iman’s wedding celebrations in Florence. As Brian recalls: “I had worked for many years with David’s publicist Alan Edwards of The Outside Organisation and we have shared many wonderful experiences together. But when Alan called to say that David was going to be marrying Iman and that they wanted me to shoot their wedding it felt quite bizarre. But then, when he went on to explain that the ceremony was going to be held at the St James Episcopal church in the Italian city of Florence my heart sank a little. Italy was the original home of the infamous paparazzi, photographers who would go to any length to get their pictures, and they were going to be thrilled with this challenge. Keeping them at bay would be a nightmare. But who could resist an invitation to photograph the most glamorous couple in the world getting married in one of its most beautiful and romantic cities, with the only concern being that of having the dreaded ‘paps’ hot on our heels, trying to break into an event that David did not want them to shoot? What could possibly go wrong…..”
In 1993 Brian and David met up again, this time for a set of of promotional photographs for The Buddha of Suburbia, taken in Bromley in South East London. In 1999 he photographed David and Iman backstage at the concert to raise funds for the Jubilee 2000 campaign.
The final shoot took place in New York in 2000 when David and Iman invited Brian to their home to photograph them with their newly-born daughter Alexandria. It was during a break in this shoot that David took a picture of Brian and turned it into a signed artwork that he presented to Brian before he left the building. As Brian remembers: “That print remains one of my proudest possessions, a constant reminder to this day that I had the privilege of knowing and working with David at a time when I believe he was at his happiest.”