On June 1, 2016, Mick Rock did a signing for the “unlimited” edition of his book, The Rise of David Bowie, at Taschen in New York City, and I went.
Of course I got an autographed book, but I also took the opportunity to ask him about the photos of Robin I’ve been theorizing he took at the same time as the back cover of the soundtrack album.
I showed him a page with the four photos printed on it, and there ensued a conversation that went more or less like this:
Q: Could I ask you a quick question?
A: Yeah. I don’t know that I can answer it…
Q: I know you took the first photo here. Did you take the other three as well? I know this is yours.
A: How do you know that? But it is mine.
Q: Because on the back of the album, it says, “Photo by Mick Rock.”
A: Oh, yeah, yeah, not many people now even know about the film Times Square.
Q: I’m the one.
A: No, I did take that one. Very good, I haven’t had it come up in years.
Q: Did you take these others?
Q: Because these are the only ones where she’s got that guitar. And it is —
A: I could have… no, I shot them both together. That was a long time ago… They paid me a lot of money…
ASSISTANT: Just take the credit!
SECOND ASSISTANT: Take the credit for it!
A: [laughs] Anyway.
ASSISTANT: “Is it rubbish? It’s good? It’s mine!”
Q: Thank you very much.
So I guess we still don’t have a definitive answer, and won’t unless someone else manages to get one from him, or he finds and releases the originals from his archive. But he certainly seemed to be leaning in that direction, and so I feel more certain than ever that these shots, and any more that might possibly turn up, of Robin in her “Aggie Doon’s debut” outfit, and with that Kent guitar, and any shots that may surface of Trini in the poncho she wears during the final sequence that aren’t obviously shot during filming, were all shot by Mick Rock in a session that yielded the back cover of the soundtrack album, and for which he was paid a lot of money.
Your humble narrator with the man himself. If he had taken the photo, I might have looked cool too.
Would you like to know more?
From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack TIMES SQUARE (songbook)
Times Square UK Press Kit (post 4 of 4)
Nicky Marotta in Limbo
Filmstar, Vol 1 No. 3, Thailand, August 1981
From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack TIMES SQUARE [detail, back cover]
564px (W) × 800px (H), 96dpi, 239 kb (image)
Photo by Mick Rock
©1980 Chappell & Co.
[TIMES SQUARE UK Press Kit photo a]
1080 px (H) x 864 px (W), 96 dpi, 154 kb (image)
[Nicky with Her Kent]
8 in (H) x 10 in (W) (work);
862 px (H) x 1080 px (W), 96 dpi, 338 kb (image)
inscription: [on reverse:] [handwritten in blue ink:] D+P. EAST 170 mm deep x 115 mm wide PA77
[handwritten in black ink:] ROBIN JOHNSON. 20
[stamped in black:] DEREK AND PAT EAST COLLECTION
Filmstar Vol. 1 No. 3, 15 August 1981, back cover (magazine (periodical), AAT ID: 300215389)
25.9 x 18.9 cm. (work);
Filmstar Vol 1 No 3_back_cover_1080px.jpg
1080 px (H) x 777 px (W), 96 dpi, 679 kb
Times Square ©1980 StudioCanal/Canal+
[THE RISE OF DAVID BOWIE, front cover], [Mick Rock’s autograph], photographed by Sean Rockoff, July 26, 2020
[Me and Mick Rock], photographed by one of Mick Rock’s assistants, possibly an employee at Taschen Store New York… now permanently closed… thank you for your service…