Six signed photographs taken by travelling companion Geoff MacCormack will go under the hammer in Bonhams sale
After a night drinking cheap Riesling and beer with soldiers, David Bowie is unsurprisingly in bed fast asleep, unaware that his friend Geoff MacCormack is photographing him on the Trans-Siberian railway.
The poignant image is one of six signed photographs to be auctioned at an entertainment memorabilia sale at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, central London.
They were all taken by MacCormack, a friend and travelling companion of Bowies in the 1970s.
The two were on the train from Vladivostok to Moscow after the Japan leg of his Ziggy Stardust tour in 1973. Bowie was there partly due to his acute fear of flying, but also because he wanted to see the Soviet Union.
MacCormack described the soldiers with fondness: They were friendly and inquisitive as to what life was like in the west. In this image, you can just make out the bleak Siberian landscape through the window.
All the photographs were taken informally by MacCormack, not as a professional photographer but as a friend.
Another taken on the same journey shows Bowie posing as any tourist would, hands on hips in front of the train. Id only just acquired a Nikkormat, said MacCormack. I didnt really know the camera at the time, and I pride myself on having got the composition right.
I love that, although David clearly strikes a pose, the image still seems unguarded and natural. David later reciprocated by taking one of me in exactly the same spot. Believe me, mine is better!
A third photograph was taken on the set of the 1976 Nicolas Roeg-directed film The Man Who Fell to Earth and shows a copper-haired Bowie in a white T-shirt stretching his arms in the air.
The photographs show Bowie at his most relaxed and were all signed by the musician not long before his death in 2016.
MacCormack said Bowie loved the images. For me, these images almost feel as if they belong in a family album. They capture the sense of two mates one of whom just happened to have become a rock star having the time of their lives.
There is a strong market for Bowie memorabilia and the newly revealed photographs offer, Bonhams said, a rare and honest glimpse into the then life of arguably the worlds most influential artist.
They come with estimates of between 2,000-3,000 each and will be on display in London from 25 June before the auction on 28 June. Also on view, although not for sale, will be a 10-minute film of the train journey to Moscow for the May Day parade which was shot by Bowie himself and has never been shown before.