In my procrastination mindset, I ended up trying to date-stamp this photo. Of course a date exists. A photographer, there’s a credit somewhere (Sukita Masayoshi), so the era is not unknown. But it’s less obvious than other Bowie pics, where you know immediately what time period — down to the year, at least — that it comes from. This one takes a bit of thought.
I have to say, when I first came across this photo I wasn’t 100 percent sure it was Bowie. I had to really squint at it. Maybe it’s David Jones, and maybe that’s the point of that (from an observer’s point of view, fake) distinction. In any event…
Let’s start with the obvious. It’s post-60s, because Bowie doesn’t have his wide-eyed exuberance, you can tell there’s age around the edges. It’s certainly not early-70s, mainly because he has eyebrows and natural haircolour. Not 74 or so because he’s not a skeleton, although that wrist looks pretty tiny. Not mid-80s or later, because his hair is not swooped up, curly or bleached blonde; and any later, he’s simply not that age, yet.
Which leaves 76,77,78,79… possibly even 80. My gut says 78. It makes me think of the Berlin room at the London V&A exhibit and the interview clip that played. Just post the excess, just resurrected from dying, but not exactly sure about what comes next, yet. 78, that’s what I say.
So I am going to look it up.