Looking Back on David Bowie 

In high school I took 4 levels of a photography class. I got to learn what an F-stop and what an ISO is, and how to use certain lighting. Not only did I learn how to use a camera and how to play with lighting, I learned that I can face any challenging projects through photography. 

In class we were assigned a project to recreate a famous photographers image. One photographer that stood out to me was Brian Duffy. I went into this project blindly not knowing that this man has photographed David Bowie’s most iconic albums. While doing more research on the photographer I had discovered that he had photographed the most recognizable photo of the singer: Aladdin Sane. 

I had to recreated this iconic photo, but how was I able to it? This recreation involved a lot of lighting, makeup, and photoshop that I didn’t know how to get it all done in a small amount of time. 

I obviously practiced the hair and makeup look a few nights in advanced until it was perfect in my eyes. While prepping for this project, I kept debating whether if I should come to school with a red lightning bolt on my face and take it off after the shoot is over, or if I should bring the makeup to school and do it in the girls bathroom before the class period. I came to the conclusion that I would do my daily makeup routine the morning of the shoot before leaving for school that day, and bring all the makeup that I would need and put the pieces together at the beginning of the class period.

I had brought red and blue face paint, black liquid eye liner, extra white face powder to make me look extra pale, red and blue eyeshadow to set the face paint, different color eye shadowers to contour my collar bones and shoulder, makeup brushes and tape to help me sketch out the lighting bolt. 

Looking back on this whole experience I should’ve done the whole look the morning of the shoot, I would’ve had more time to take more pictures than I did and also to touch up the makeup before the class period of the shoot. I also would’ve had more time to work on the look itself if I did it that morning, but you live and you learn.

In total I took 11 photos of myself. My photography teacher and I used three lights. Two in front of me to make sure both sides of my face and body were properly lit, and one light behind me to make sure that there were no shadows behind me. 

Me being the only female in the only female in the classroom, I was asked a lot of questions on what I was doing for this project and why do I have a giant red lighting bolt on my face. David Bowie was considered androgynous with his facial features, makeup, his hair length, and cross dress. He basically broke the boundaries of gender and that was the whole point of why I recreated that image, to break the boundaries of gender. I look up to David Bowie. His music is very powerful, catchy, and inspirational. 

After many days of photoshopping the image I was worried that it wouldn’t come out as I expected, but it did and I am still very proud of this photo. My photography teacher said that I had worked the hardest on this assignment due to the makeup, lighting, and editing. I uploaded the photo on to my Instagram account (norathegrace) and I was expecting to get at least 70 or 80 likes on the photo. It got 54 likes and two comments. I was very disappointed with that because no one acknowledge all my hard work and effort into the photo.


The caption of the photo was a song lyric in Rock n Roll Suicide from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album. “Oh no love! you’re not alone/You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair/You got your head all tangled up but if i could only/Make you care/Oh no love! you’re not alone/No matter what or who you’ve been/No matter when or where you’ve seen/All the knives seem to lacerate your brain/I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain/You’re not alone.”

The song is my favorite piece by David Bowie and the lyric itself is very meaningful towards me. It helped me get through a very anxious part of my life and it also has helped me to stay motivated. Due to my love for the lyric, I made it my senior quote, in hopes of it impacting someone else the way it impacted me.

As you saw earlier the photo is a side by side comparison to see how similar they really are. The next day I posted my side of the photo to see how many likes that will get, it got 73. No matter how many likes each photo got I am still very proud of what I’ve created. It was a challenge that I was willing to take at the time and it was an amazing tribute to someone that I consider my role model.

 

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2 thoughts on “Looking Back on David Bowie 

  1. Nora, this is one of the most detailed reflections I’ve seen thus far. You did a wonderful job picking apart the pieces of your past to explain your rhetorical choices. Side note, this is an awesome recreation of an artist and visionary, and I’m glad you eventually got the accolades you deserve for this project. When you originally posted this, you mentioned that the feedback was not as strong as you wanted. Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that David Bowie, while an icon, was not as prominent in your generation? If they didn’t know Bowie, and only saw this photo of you while scrolling through their feed, what might the audience be thinking about your photo/you?

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