Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx Teams Up With Leica

Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx Teams Up With Leica

Motley Crue bassist, Nikki Sixx is a recovering addict. But cameras, he says, are his new drug. He has been a musician, a writer and a radio host. His new passion is photography. To be honest, I was pretty surprised by his images. They are empathetic, penetrative and incredibly personal. He has teamed up with Leica to photograph a two-part interview series.

Read the first part, ‘One Step Up From the Abyss,’ here. The photos were taken while he was on tour, but there are no photos of the band. Instead, he focuses on the people he meets on the streets, and the stories of the people in them.


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"You hit a place where you go all the way back and reflect on your life. I’m 54 years old; I have more years behind me than there will be in front of me. You hit a place where you want to reflect; maybe it happens sometime in your 40s. I’m a father of four and a recovering heroin addict. I’ve been doing all this creative stuff, not for money, but for passion. Sometimes it does turn into money and I’m able to support my family and continue to be an artist. That is why I always support other people to become successful artists. I say, “That’s beautiful. If you’ve done it once you can do it again.” You can keep doing it. We all benefit from it. If you are a fan of a photographer or painter or musician, you can benefit if they can be successful."


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"I asked the distraught girl how she was doing and she told me she hadn’t had a fix in two days and was in a lot of pain. I asked the other girl how she was doing. She told me she was a prostitute. I asked if I could take their picture. And one girl told the other it was going to be okay and put her arm around her friend. If you zoom in on the girl with the pained expression, you can see the track marks on her arms. She has tons of scars from the needles. It’s such a simple picture, but I wanted to include it because it showed some from of nurturing."


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"I met Lonnie, the girl shooting up in photos I shot, in Victoria. There are these two squatter buildings. They’ve thrown all the furniture out of the windows and it has landed in the alleyway between them. There’s this iron fence that blocks it off. It’s formed some version of shelter under the couches and tables and stuff. I saw something as I was driving past the buildings, so I pulled over. I had both cameras around my neck. Someone was holding a cardboard box in front of her face. I told them I wasn’t going to shoot a picture and I wasn’t the police. I said I would like to take their picture if they’d let me and that my name is Nikki. I am a recovering heroin addict. She put down the box and told me she liked it there because of the couches. ..She sat down and we started talking. She asked if I minded if she got high. I told her no but asked if I could photograph it. Then she asked if it would bother me because she knew I was a recovering addict. Such compassion. After we were done, I told her I was going to leave. She asked if she could give me a hug. She gave me a hug and she held on a little too long. She just needed that and felt really grateful. So I started walking back to my car and she called out after me and told me I dropped something. I looked down and there were four $20 dollar bills on the ground. I asked her why she bothered to tell me that. She told me it was because the money was mine. This made me feel like I needed to be a better person. Here was a girl who has nothing, and she was concerned that I lost my money. I just gave her the money and thanked her. But I learned something."


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"I met Patrick outside the Main Street Project in Winnipeg Canada today.I asked what he was doing and he simply said ‘WAITING’.He kept staring straight ahead.I took a few pictures and when we were done we said our goodbye’s but for some reason I stopped,turned around to look back at him and this is what i saw.”A man so focused on the door of a building that nothing and i mean nothing else really mattered”.They were about to open to door’s to take people in for the night,shower and feed them.The complete desolation of this shot touched me.The man walking in the background has a story too but i am sure Patrick could care less,he only had one thing on his mind."


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"The man & woman in the photos are named Tess and James.Tess is 65 and James is 55.Tess’s best friend since childhood had just passed away and she said she hadn’t been to sleep in 3 days. James was there for her emotional support. Tess told me James has been her friend for over 20 years as she rubbed his arm. As i was taking photo’s she broke down and started crying again.She told me her son used to be a photographer and I reminded her of him. We sat for a while. They are from San Francisco and said they we’re heading to Echo Park."


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"This photo is of Jasmine (reading a Ben Harper book ).She was waiting at a bus stop on Sunset blvd.She was from Hollywood but wouldn’t tell me where she was going. She was coy and cute yet distant. I couldn’t really connect with her. She was happy i gave her money and even happier when i walked away…"


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See more of Nikki Sixx's images on his Tumblr

Cover image by Mary Ouellette. Images by Nikki Sixx

Via Loudwire and The Leica Camera Blog

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19 Comments

Dan Savinelli's picture

I got to say, Im pretty impressed. He is really into the story, the emotion, personality of his subject. He's actually a pretty talented photographer. One of my close friends is a photojournalist for the times and honestly, their style & look is very similar. I love the lady on the bench with the one eye showing. He captured her persona with the glance of an eye. The negative space/shape shot with Patrick is pretty cool to. Good for him turning his life around and doing something good for himself. I remember years back when he was medically dead from an overdose TWICE, I remember saying a prayer for him that he would survive. This is great to hear. Go Nikki !!!

Rodolfo Arechiga's picture

Dude rocks!

Patrick Hall's picture

Nikki is a really talented guy. Not only is he a great songwriter but he's a pretty incredible visionary. Really not shocking he'd be good behind a camera....not quite as good as Tommy though :)

If he wasn't a famous rock star would these images be considered good???? ..looks like any old high school photoclass assignments. Homesless shots are so cliche..Just keeping its real....Like celebrity DJ's are Real "DJ's "

Dan Savinelli's picture

I doubt he is reading this blog so there would be no reason to compliment him as a celeb in less it was really meant. And yes homeless shots are cliche. Thats not what its about for him. I think this is an outlet for him. These are people that shared the same serious struggles as him. No he is not homeless, but he knows what it is to be down and out and having an addiction that killed him twice. I think this is a way for him to connect with his inner struggles through a creative outlet.

Aleksandar Aleksić's picture

to be honest it's my first time to hear about this guy and i think some of these shots are worth sharing...

I think his work is beautiful. Now I know some very talented documentary photographers with stuff like Nikki's but the simple b&w with their stories along side of them is breath taking. And in reply to Terrence Jerod, it doesnt matter his status or if you think his work is "cliche" it is the fact that without any training or anything in photography that he can come up with powerful images that actually make people think. I would still be in awe of this work, and honestly I dont listen to Motley Crue so his status has nothing to do with how I take his work. its just simply beautiful and real.

yeah right......Teaming up with Leica... Marketing at its finest. Remember Beats by DRE .. X2 by Stixx Lame...... Read the article..... hes walking around paying homeless and addicts for shots... If he was talking these people and giving them cameras....training them and giving them jobs as exclusive tour photographers that would be cool. Come on its Motley Crue Rock Royalty..... This is like rappers who become actors.....everyone can't become Will Smith....SO we have a lot of horrible acting in movies. and now we have average joe shots that are shot with a leica but not event sharp....since when did a 8k kit shoot soft barely in focus stills......

oh great he is photographing the poor... cliche cliche....

,,,,and he did a pretty damn good job of it too! I think the fact that he did something interesting with "well-trodden territory" makes his work even that much more impressive.

He's not just snapping a shot and walking off, he's connecting with them, listening to them, and sharing their stories. His photos aren't my style either. But at least he's contributing something.

ScottWu's picture

I can usually tell if fancy people like certain photos if I don't like them...

Mike Long's picture

The way the intro reads, Sixx just picked up a camera. In fact he's been a photographer for years. You should check out "This is gonna hurt" - full of great, if weird, photography. He clearly has a tortured imagination...

Gee! another celebrity photographer, i am not impressed

another celebrity photographer, i am not impressed

That's awesome. I always listen to him on the radio and he was talking about his Leica the other day. He's definitely a good radio guy very entertaining.

Taffy Johnson's picture

Anybody can take a photograph of a drug addict or a homeless person.Here is a man who finds the time to know them and their stories. He might me interested in the stories of these people and photograph is just a proof that they are real or it can be the other way around. Before writing him off as a 'celebrity with a camera', please check his images in Tumblr. He does some impressive work. He could have easily turned his camera towards easy subject like his band mates and fans screaming to their songs. yet he chose his subjects differently.So there is an in depth passion these types of photographs in him. Yea, they are not Phase One sharp then again his idea might not be bill board size prints.This is the first time I've ever heard of Nikki Sixx and his photographs are profound.

after looking over his tumblr for 15 mins.....i retract my statements....he has some dope images on his site..

Love his style!