Off The Record: Adude Insane

Bowie Time

The time has come to release another addition to my Off The Record project.  This time, we decided to take a crack at David Bowie’s iconic “Aladdin Sane” album cover from way back in 1973.  Brian Duffy’s original creation featured a startling portrait of makeup-clad Bowie in a version of his Ziggy Stardust persona. Seemed like a good one to work on!

The Plan

Aladdin Sane by Brian Duffy

Aladdin Sane by Brian Duffy

When I first started planning this series with my project partner Julie Spero, she told me she had the perfect person for a Bowie album cover.  Jeff is a friend of hers – and a musician to boot.  This guy jumped head-first into the project by dying his hair red for a more authentic look.  Julie then worked her makeup magic to transform Jeff into Aladdin Sane.  It was quite a transformation.

The Portrait

Since the original portrait has a very flat, almost clinical feel to it, I decided to go with the cool, flat light of my trusty ringlight.  It definitely provided an excellent, even light that showed off the makeup and styling.  From there, it was into Photoshop to take the image to the next level.  I tweaked the colors a bit to give his skin tone a “not of this world” look and enhanced the colors that were already painted on his face.  The liquid on his chest was added digitally as well.

Bowie Aladdin PortraitTo finish off the album, I just had to dodge out the bottom of the image and add the text.  The font was pretty easy- just a basic Geramond- but I had to create a layer with the blue and red colors. I used a clipping mask to place the coloring on the text and the look was complete.  It certainly has the look and feel of the original

What Next?

Behind the scenes with Jeff and Julie

Behind the scenes with Jeff and Julie

If you would like to be in one of the upcoming portraits, let me know.  You don’t even have to have a specific one in mind.

I’ve got several ones that we want to include in the project, but we need the model.  If it sounds like something you would like to do, send me your ideas – or just let me know you are willing to model.  You just might end up a rock and roll legend – kind of.


  1. This is a clever project. I remember buying the original album (yes I am that old) and your take is excellent. Thnaks and having looked at some of your others keep on.

Leave a Reply to Jimmy Davies Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>