Vernon Dewhurst graduated from Regent Street Polytechnic School of Photography in 1966, and set up his studio in Dublin for a year. He then came back to London, working at the famous Studio Five in Mayfair shooting fashion and beauty. In London he shared house with David Bowie whom he shot several times. One of his pictures became the cover of the famous Space Oddity album in 1969.
A few weeks after the shoot, Vernon moved to Paris where he worked for clients including Marie Claire, 20 Ans, Elle, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint-Laurent, and photographed many French stars.
David Bowie’s second album, released in 1969 was originally titled David Bowie, It subsequently became known as Space Oddity, in deference to its best-known track.
Vernon Dewhurst remembers photographing the cover: “I met David Bowie in 1967 or 68 when I lived in a shared house in Clareville Grove, South Kensington. David had the room on the top floor with Hermione, his girlfriend. I’d often pop up for a smoke and glass of wine and to hear his latest songs and it was there I first heard ‘Space Oddity’. David invited me to his Arts Lab in Beckenham, and I photographed him playing there. When he saw the photographs, he asked me to meet with Calvin to talk about the cover to his second LP. They both had this idea of David’s head appearing out of a Vasarely inspired op art background, but weren’t sure if it could be done.”
“I told them it could. David came to my studio in St.Michael Street, Paddington, and here we shot the head shot—about three rolls of Ektachrome on a Hassleblad did it. David was a natural model, confident, relaxed, and fun to work with. Those present apart from David and myself were Calvin Mark Lee and my Chinese assistant Zin. I finally managed to create the finished montage after a few abortive attempts. It would have been so much easier now with Photoshop. A few weeks after the shoot I split for Paris, sort of lost touch with David, never imagining that he would become such a mega star, though I always thought he’d make it big somehow.”
Vernon Dewhurst’s signed limited editions of the cover photograph are available to purchase in a range of physical size options.