Never-Before-Seen Photos of David Bowie Appear in New Book

David Bowie Portrait by Sukita

Untitled (wearing Kansai Yamamoto costume), RCA Studio, New York, 1973 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)
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There are some creative relationships that stand the test of time. And certainly, the bond between Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita and rock star David Bowie was one that has endured. Their collaboration, which spanned over 40 years, produced incredible photographs that document Bowie's entire career. Now, these photos—some previously unseen—have been published in Sukita: Eternity.

The duo met when Bowie was in his Ziggy Stardust phase. Sukita, intrigued by what he saw, called up Bowie's people and convinced them, even with his limited English, to let him do a photoshoot. From there, Sukita and Bowie would remain lifelong friends and collaborators. “Every time Bowie came to Japan, he called me and said, ‘I am here. Let’s do a photo session.’ Bowie always loved Eastern culture, and he loved Kyoto, the traditional town in Japan,” Sukita recalls in the book. “Since I was young, I have always been into Western culture, and Bowie was so into Eastern culture, so that’s the bond or relationship we had. It was because of the distance between us that we were able to go on collaborating for 40 years.”

Their collaboration spanned everything from the iconic cover of Bowie's Heroes album to photos of the rock legend exploring the streets of Japan in casual clothes. Sukita: Eternity focuses quite a bit on their relationship, but also covers Sukita's incredible career outside of his work with Bowie. This includes his work with other musicians, whether that be posed portraits or concert imagery. Sukita worked with everyone from Iggy Pop and the B-52's to a whole range of top Japanese musicians. In fact, he's still active and working today at 83 years old.

The book also gives space to Sukita's street photography. “Ever since I was young, I always wanted to take photos that would bear witness to what was happening in the world,” Sukita once said. And certainly, the monograph does an excellent job in showing how Sukita captured life over his long career. His artistic flair and signature style are unmistakable. Viewing his work as one flips through the pages, it's easy to see why his work remains iconic.

Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita had a 40-year creative relationship with David Bowie.

Close Up Portrait of David Bowie in the 1970s by Sukita

Untitled, RCA Studio, New York, 1973 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

David Bowie in 1973 by Sukita

Untitled, RCA Studio, New York, 1973 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

Sukita Portrait of David Bowie in 2002

‘Heathen’, New York, 2002 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

His new book, Sukita:Eternity, also shows his incredible portraits of other international and Japanese musicians.

The B-52's by Sukita

The B-52’s, Tokyo, 1979 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

Jordan by Sukita

Jordan (Pamela Rooke), London, 1977. (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

Tomoyasu Hotei by Sukita

Tomoyasu Hotei, Tokyo, 2002 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

Sukita: Eternity Photography Book

“Idiot I, Harajuku Studio, Tokyo, 1977 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

There is also an emphasis on Sukita's street photography.

Sukita Street Photography

Untitled, Shibuya, Tokyo, 2010 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

Man with a Mask by Sukita

Mask, Tokyo, 2020 (Courtesy of ACC Art Books)

Masayoshi Sukita: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by ACC Art Books.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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