What’s On: Photography- The Rock Gallery, Hammersmith

A famous rock photographer has opened a gallery recording a lifetime of music history – and is selling some of his limited edition work.

Denis O’Regan has photographed many rock superstars over a 45-year career and is now sharing some of his never-seen-before snapshots with the public.

He has opened a gallery in King Street, Hammersmith featuring some of the most iconic photographs of David Bowie in concert.

Framed photographs of Queen, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie line the walls alongside digital displays from his career.

Denis’ easy-going personality marked him out from others around him, as his close friendships with musicians allowed him to get personal pictures of the stars.

His work chronicles the evolution of music over the past century, featuring the likes of Thin Lizzy, Spandau Ballet, AC/DC and Pink Floyd.

One of his most incredible photos is a bird’s eye view of Bowie playing Milton Keynes Bowl on the Serious Moonlight tour.

The Rock Gallery

Denis had to climb the scaffolding to get the picture of the 63,000, audience despite his fear of heights.

Denis’ long career photographing musicians, going on stage, travelling to gigs and going backstage began in one simple moment.

He was working at a corner shop opposite Olympic Studios in his hometown when some young women told him Bowie was about to turn up to record.

He grabbed his camera, took a few shots and an entire career began.

Denis travelled for eight months alongside David Bowie – turning his modest start into a massive career break.

Denis said: “He wanted photos to be taken, everywhere. ‘Where’s Denis?’ became the phrase of the tour. He was great; really down to earth. At home he lived very modestly. He drove a Volvo.”

He was made the official photographer on a Rolling Stones tour, but it is his Freddie Mercury and David Bowie pictures that he is most famous for.

The gallery will sell Denis’ limited edition prints and unique pieces which will only be available for purchase there.

His signed limited edition boxed set Ricochet: David Bowie 1983 is the only David Bowie book in the permanent collection at the V&A Museum.

It will now be available to purchase at the gallery alongside Duran Duran’s Careless Memories.

The gallery is home to Denis’ office, where he dusts off negatives and contact sheets that haven’t seen daylight for decades.

Denis has also found a collection of vintage prints of Duran Duran signed by the band which have been made available to buy for the first time ever.

The gallery will host musician and photographer events – allowing the next generation of music history to be born.

Hammersmith has been a big part of Denis’ career since day one making it an apt home for his gallery.

He saw one of the Beatles’ notable Christmas shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, and in 1973 returned to see Bowie perform on the last-but-one night of his Ziggy Stardust tour.

Denis could also be found at the Clarendon and the Red Cow in the height of the punk movement. Denis looks back longingly for the days before smartphones when photography was not instant for everyone.

Denis said: “There’s no mystique any longer. That’s been lost. What I do now is not as vital anymore.”

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