“It was barely over a year ago I sat with you by the window listening to Bowie stories,” Miley Cyrus wrote on Twitter after learning of his death. “It was my honor.”
Mr. Rock often said he was fated to have the career he had because of his name: He was born Michael David Rock on Nov. 21, 1948, in London to David and Joan (Gibbs) Rock.
He graduated from Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied modern languages. While a student there, as he put it in the documentary, “photography wandered idly into my life.” He was hanging out in a friend’s room with a companion, and the friend had left a 35-milimeter camera lying about (which turned out to have no film in it, though Mr. Rock didn’t realize that).
“I was with a young lady in a state of — I think chemical inebriation is probably the best way of putting it,” he told The Daily Telegraph of Britain in 2010, “when I started snapping away. I was just playing, but there was something about it that I really liked.”
So he got himself his own camera, with film, and began taking pictures of friends and friends’ friends. One friend, whom he had met early in his time at Cambridge, was Syd Barrett of the band Pink Floyd. Through Mr. Barrett he came to know other musicians, and a few not only asked him to photograph them but also paid him.