Gallery: Previously unseen photos of David Bowie head to York for exhibition

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Some of Denis's photographs were taken backstage at live gigs. Photograph © Denis O'Regan
Some of Denis’s photographs were taken backstage at live gigs. Photograph © Denis O’Regan

A remarkable collection of previously unseen photographs of David Bowie are coming to York.

The pictures were all captured by the music legend’s friend and former tour photographer Denis O’Regan.

Titled David & I: My photographic account of travelling the world with David Bowie, the exhibition gives fans an insight into Bowie’s downtime while travelling the world.

It includes 40 stunning photographs, 20 of which will be extra-large 30” x 40″ fine-art prints.

David & I exhibition

Cooper Mini Showroom, Clifton Moor Gate, Clifton Moor, York YO30 4WR

Thu Oct 20 @ 7.30pm

£7.50 / £29.50 for VIP tickets

Tickets available here

They were taken as David and Denis toured the world together between 1978 and 1987 and many have never been seen by the public before.

And the exhibition coming to York for one-night only.

One of the shots of Bowie in mid-performance. Photograph © Denis O'Regan
One of the shots of Bowie in mid-performance. Photograph © Denis O’Regan

Denis told YorkMix his exhibition will display a side of David that hasn’t been seen elsewhere.

I have more of the real David, as opposed to the David who went into a photographing studio with a certain look.

It’s more of an insight into David than a lot of other exhibitions are – just because it has the off-guard, off-stage moments that I think the fans will really like.

They’ve seen the show, but they haven’t seen him just hanging around. The candid moments.


Denis travelled with Bowie for up to nine months at a time, including the Serious Moonlight, Glass Spider and Sound & Vision tours between 1983 and 1990.

But he first photographed him years earlier.

Bowie in Berlin. Photograph © Denis O'Regan
Bowie in Berlin. Photograph © Denis O’Regan

After photographing a variety of punk bands at the Marquee Club in London, Denis got noticed by the music papers – particularly NME.

“I started to do a lot of work for them, and in 1978 I said to them: ‘David Bowie’s touring, can I go and photograph him in Newcastle?’

“They said OK, and that was the first time I shot him professionally. Those pictures ended up all over the place.”

And Denis ultimately got the job as Bowie’s tour photographer through those NME contacts.

“I ended up going to rehearsals in Dallas and I met David – and then they told me I’d got the job.”

Down to earth

Bowie at Madame Tussauds as they pick out one of his eye colours for their waxwork of the singer
Bowie at Madame Tussauds as they pick out one of his eye colours for their waxwork of the singer

After only ever seeing him from a distance, Bowie wasn’t quite what he had anticipated once he came to know him personally.

He was a lot friendlier than I expected. He was less of a reclusive rock star.

He was down to earth – very friendly, very funny – and that wasn’t what I expected from this bloke from another planet.

Denis photographed the singer exploring the world in between gigs. This shot is from Singapore in 1983. Photograph © Denis O'Regan
Denis photographed the singer exploring the world in between gigs. This shot is from Singapore in 1983. Photograph © Denis O’Regan
Denis ended up touring with some of the greats – Thin Lizzy, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Pink Floyd too for their last ever tour in 1994.

But it was Bowie he became close to.

By spending so much time with someone they become your friend.

At shows, he had the band behind him, and the only person in front of him who he knew was me. So there’s that little bond as well.

He’d shoot me a look, or we’d have a little laugh about something. We had that communication during the show.

David and Denis share a selfie. Photograph © Denis O'Regan
David and Denis share a selfie. Photograph © Denis O’Regan

And Denis is bringing the exhibition to York simply because he loves it here.

“I absolutely love York. I love York and Yorkshire, so I’m really looking forward to it. A lot of my friends are from Yorkshire – well, Londoners who live in Yorkshire.”

He will be at the exhibition and VIP ticket holders can take part in a Q&A with Denis before it opens to other ticket holders.

Dan Edwards

Dan Edwards

Dan is a sports journalism undergraduate with an unwavering obsession for football and film. He supports Manchester City - but don't hold it against him

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