Photographer Frank W. Ockenfels 3 on Shooting David Bowie: "He Always Wanted to Be More About the Now Than Anything"

Frank Ockenfels 3/CPI Syndication
Bowie, shot by Ockenfels in 1991.

"There was nobody with him; there wasn’t an entourage, which you nowadays get with people," recalls FWO3, who shot the rock legend more than anyone else during the 1980s, '90s and 2000s.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

I met him in 1989 when I shot him for the cover of Cream magazine. When he walked in, he made a joke about what I was going to do different. I said, "If you guys all take your shirts off, I'm going to light-paint you with the flashlight." David laughed and said, "OK, I've got to see this."

From that point he started requesting me. He came to one shoot with just a guitar case in his hand. There was nobody with him; there wasn't an entourage, which you nowadays get with people. Another time David set up his whole band, and they played live while I just kind of shot these pictures as they were playing. Anybody walking by the studio might have heard David Bowie music without knowing he was in there, actually singing.

During photo shoots he would start talking to my assistants and asking them, "Hey, what are you listening to?" and he would sit next to them at lunch and ask questions: "What have you seen lately? What have you done lately? Have you been to any great art exhibits?" The assistants would start opening up and telling him things. He always wanted to be more about the now than anything.

Read more David Bowie tributes below:

David Bowie's Legacy: He "Helped Give Voice to Several Generations of Misfits and Weirdos"

Ricky Gervais' Tribute to David Bowie: "I Never Forgot He Was My Hero, Even When He Became My Friend"

Documentarian D.A. Pennebaker Fondly Recalls the Making of David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust' Concert Film

Director Richard Shepard Remembers David Bowie: "He Was Just This Beam of Light"

Cameron Crowe Recalls David Bowie Interviews, Shares Artist's "Self-Portrait"

Director John Landis on David Bowie: “A Gentleman, Charming and Often Very Funny”

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