Released 10th June, 2002, "Heathen" was David Bowie’s 23rd studio album.
In the words of David Bowie…
“Heathen kind of felt right, in as much, as it was about the unilluminated mind.
“It was an idea, a feeling, a sense of what 21st Century man might become if he’s not already: someone who’s lowered his standards spiritually, intellectually, morally whatever…someone who’s not even bothered searching for a spiritual life anymore but who’s completely existing on a materialistic plane. But just using the word “heathen” is kind of less preachy than explaining all that. ‘Cos if you wrote all that on the front of an album cover, nobody would bother buying it, would they?”
🎥 Lights, Camera, Action 🎬: Behind The Scene
In 2001, award-winning international fashion / celebrity photographer Markus Klinko spent 8 hours in his New York studio with David Bowie shooting images for David's "Heathen" album cover.
When asked about why David wanted to be shot as a blind man Markus explained:
"It was [David's] idea. What he tried to bring across with this artwork was a man who lost belief, a man who no longer believes in the rules of religion, politics, all of that. His blind eyes represent his loss of belief, no longer being on track with what you’re supposed to believe. For the actual album cover image, he has strong references based on Man Ray. He showed me Man Ray images. He took a selfie in his bedroom before our shooting session that he was proud of. We used it for the initial setup. It was planned for that shot, he wanted it to look exactly how he wanted it. I helped him achieve that. He said: “you have me until 5pm and you can do whatever you want.” So, I had time to bring my own ideas to the table, but his main album cover was very precise."
Source: "Markus Klinko on Bowie Unseen" by Nadja Sayej, Vanity Fair, 2019
Award-winning international fashion / celebrity photographer Markus Klinko