I interviewed William Murray BEFORE the album came out and this is what he said:
"Michael asked me to shoot the cover of Amarok and he wants to do something reminiscent of Ommadawn. So it was very cyclical, I never thought all those years later I would be shooting again the (David) Bailey cover. It is also my favourite cover, I'm very biased towards that album. I thought this will be easy, put him behind a bit of glass, put some water on the glass, ....woof, no trouble. Then you realise how good Bailey is, it's not as easy as I thought by a long shot. But hopefully everyone will like it. We went through several permutations, what is now the cover shot is the shot I wanted all along. Michael wanted something with a different feel, a particular sort of look that was more Ommadawny than the one I liked, which is, I think a very very glamorous shot - more contemporary rather than the moodier looking one. But, at the eleventh hour he agreed with me."
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net