Cover artwork

David Bowie considered calling the album The Return Of The Thin White Duke, and Golden Years, before settling on Station To Station.

Two key photo sessions took place in May 1976, shortly before filming The Man Who Fell To Earth. The first was at Tom Kelley’s studio on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, which was intended as a publicity shoot for the ‘Fame’ single.

Kelley’s images were judged to be so successful by Bowie and RCA that they were used on a number of record releases, including the 1976 compilation ChangesOneBowie.

Embed from Getty Images

The other key session was with Steve Schapiro, who appeared to be Bowie’s favoured photographer during this period. It began at 4pm and lasted 12 hours, and involved many costume changes. The session ended with Bowie, wearing oversized glasses and a shirt depicting wildlife scenes, sitting astride a motorbike.

In one sequence, Bowie, wearing a blue top and trousers painted with diagonal white stripes, drew Kabbalah symbols and diagrams on the walls and floor. This look was resurrected by Bowie in the video for the song ‘Lazarus’, released on 7 January 2016.

When we did our shoot in ’74, he went into the dressing room and he painted these diagonal white stripes on his outfit and painted his toes white. And when we saw the ‘Lazarus’ video, he had repeated that outfit for the first time. He was in a very spiritual mood in ’74 and this sort of continued that whole spiritual sense that David had.
Steve Schapiro
Cool Hunting, April 2016

When Station To Station was reissued in 1991 the back cover featured one of Schapiro’s images, of Bowie sketching Kaballah’s ten Sephirot, also known as the Tree of Life, on the studio floor. The incident was also immortalised in the lyrics of ‘Breaking Glass’ on the Low album.

Schapiro also took the cover photograph for the Station To Station album, which was taken on the set of The Man Who Fell To Earth.

Station To Station album cover

Published: |