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Celia Philo

“The photographic shoot for the cover of Aladdin Sane, David Bowie’s 1973 album, happened like magic. I always say its success was the result of a lucky collaboration of people who worked together just once, but created something truly special.”

Graphic designer, Celia Philo joined forces with photographer Brian Duffy to produce the cover for David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane in 1973. The record went on to become Bowie’s first number 1 album in the UK and made it to Rolling Stone’s (2012 List) “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” ranking in at #279.

Philo was charged with directing the shoot for the cover design. The result was one of the most iconic album images ever created. The image, of a lightning flash across Bowie’s face, showing his naked torso came about through the creative process. The business of creating the shot was over in a couple of days. The day after the initial shoot Philo and Duffy developed the photographs themselves, watching as the images came to life, and realising that, “We[‘d] cracked it.”

The album’s cover is credited with being part of the driving force behind glam and punk rock fashion taking over London in a huge way post its release in 1973.

Prior to her work with Bowie, Philo had worked with Duffy on the famous Pirelli calendars.


Aladdin Sane

Celia Philo