"These are amazing images," host John Varvatos said at the opening of the Q&A at the launch party for Transformer, the new deluxe book from Genesis Publications featuring an arresting timeline of photographs of Lou Reed by famed rock photographer Mick Rock.
"Well, he's had some amazing subjects," Reed shot back.
It's true. Rock has been blessed with having photographed some of rocks most lens friendly stars; David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Iggy Pop and Reed among them. Forty years ago Reed's Transformer album (there's also a fantastic vinyl reissue) launched him from the underground to stardom, with a little help from producers David Bowie and Mick Ronson. Rock was there to capture Reed’s evolution on film, beginning with Transformer's iconic album cover and continuing through the wild side of the 1970s.
Reed and Rock have collaborated on Genesis Publications' latest super deluxe book, which is -- like Rock's previous book with Genesis from this era Moonage Daydream -- one of the most visually exciting books the high-end publisher has ever produced. The book includes images from throughout the 1970s and chronicles Reed's various incarnations from the unique perspective of a close friend. Best of all Transformer's photographs were hand chosen by Reed, from the famous to the never-before-seen.
The Transformer book -- along with the related limited edition, signed print series of Rock's work -- showcases album covers, beginning with Transformer -- which established Rock and Reed's 40-year friendship and became one of the most iconic images of modern music. As seen in the "making of video" from Genesis, the book also features unseen outtakes, studio sessions, spontaneous shots and friends, including Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
"I've been through some rocky times," Rock confessed to the large crowd gathered at the John Varvatos store in the old CBGB's space on the Bowery. "I'm so happy that Lou stuck with me and that we're still friends and still working together."
Transformer, the result of that continuing partnership, is an astoundingly beautiful book and objet de art that any fan of Reed's or of the 1970s glam rock period should put at the top of their holiday wish list.
This article is copyright 2013 by Jeff Slate. No part may be reprinted or referenced without permission and/or attribution. All rights reserved.