Unseen pictures of David Bowie are to appear in an extensive new book, including some taken by a female photographer who got unprecedented access as one of the few women on the music scene.
Twenty-five international photographers feature in a forthcoming volume dedicated to one of the most influential musicians of his time, a performer who repeatedly re-invented his persona and sound, becoming a trailblazer of musical trends and pop fashion.
They include Janet Macoska, who believes that being a lone female photographer in her home city of Cleveland got her better access to him on his US tours.
She recalls that, in 1978, for his ‘Isolar II’ tour, he had banned all photographers, but a Cleveland promoter asked her to shoot the stage a couple of hours earlier for their scrapbook. Once inside, she managed to stay on, just a few rows back.
She said: “David had these two big security guys, one on either side of the stage. He was right in front of that aisle and he saw me lean out and snap some photos. He took his finger, and wiggled it at me, like ‘no, you shouldn’t be doing that’. But then he gave me his big smile. He called his goons off - and I got to shoot the whole show.”
She added: "David was caring in that way. Plus it was Cleveland. He loved Cleveland…the first place he ever played in America.”
Ms Macoska’s photographs of musicians include Paul McCartney and her work is represented in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the National Portrait Gallery in London, among other collections. She had somehow forgotten just how many images she had taken of Bowie until she began searching through them for the forthcoming volume.
From her archive spanning 46 years, she is now sharing some with the Sunday Telegraph ahead of their inclusion in “David Bowie: Icon”, which will be published next month ahead of the fifth anniversary of his death in January, aged just 69.
They include a black-and-white image from the 1983 Serious Moonlight tour, in which he performed a song called Cracked Actor, holding a skull like Hamlet, she said: “He’s singing to the skull.”
Asked why she had not published it before, she said: “When you’re shooting shows night after night, you... pull out maybe four to six shots that really appeal to you… Then you put everything away.
"There’s a series of four or five shots - different poses with the skull - and I just never looked at it. I didn’t publish any of that because,… as a photographer, I want David straight on, or capturing his charisma… To me, the skull was taking away from him.
"But then, when I was doing the deep dive into my negatives to find things that I hadn’t used before for this book, I started scanning everything, and when I got to those shots… I thought wow,…. it’s got lots of drama."
Such is Bowie’s enduring popularity that, while the publication date is October 12, pre-orders have already put it on the best-selling Amazon books.
It is not surprising. The Victoria & Albert Museum’s 2013 touring exhibition, for example, attracted more than one million visitors.
In 1995, Macoska managed to meet him, giving him with a framed copy of her favourite photograph of him. About three weeks later, she was taken aback to receive a handwritten letter from him, thanking her.
Asked how unusual it is for such a huge star to bother, she said: “It’s unbelievable. I thought what a lovely gentleman he is.”
She has been a Bowie “fan” for as long as she can remember, though she was never starstruck in photographing him between 1974 and 1995: “They’re meant to be rock stars, and to look unlike anyone else on the planet. It’s an energy that they give out… I’m being in the moment, capturing what they’re giving me.”