Satisfaction guaranteed at Stones exhibition

Story by Jack Foley

AS THE Rolling Stones embark on yet another world tour, a gallery in London is recapturing the band's earlier days by featuring an exhibition of photographs by Gered Mankowitz, the 'unofficial' official photographer for the band for nearly three years at the very pinnacle of their initial success.

Entitled, simply, The Rolling Stones, the exhibition takes place at Proud Camden Moss and runs from September 13 until mid-November and promises to be a must-see for any Stones fan, young or old, who intends to catch the band on their forthcoming live dates.

Mankowitz first made a name for himself at the age of 18, when he started to photograph Marianne Faithful and it was her manager who asked him to take on another assignment, capturing a rising young band fronted by a certain Mick Jagger.

The rest, as they say, is history. During the next three years, Mankowitz toured with the band, photographing them on and off stage, at home and in recording studios. The pictures which resulted capture a band growing in fame and confidence, as they struggle to come to terms with the highs and lows of a life on the road.

Mankowitz's images not only capture the legendary (and ageless) energy with which Jagger performs on stage, but also a quieter side to the young rebel, be it writing songs for the band, or relaxing at home among his favourite cars (see other photo on this page).

The fans get a look-in too, a screaming, relentless and excessive bunch of followers whose reaction to the band frequently invoked the wrath of concerned parents who would rather see them following The Beatles.

Despite remaining an unofficial photographer for much of his time with them, Mankowitz was trusted enough to capture them at all times - whatever their mood. One of his more memorable images features the band, looking grumpy and tired, wrapped in overcoats following an all-night working session.

The Rolling Stones, Until October 27, Proud Camden, 10 Greenland Street, Camden , London, NW1 0ND. Opening hours: 10am- 5pm. Nearest Tube: Camden Town


Gered Mankowitz was born in London, on August 3, 1946. He was the first of four sons of the late author, playwright and film writer, Wolf Mankowitz and his wife, the psychoanalyst Ann Mankowitz.

He left school at the age of 15, choosing to avoid all exams, to pursue his first love - photography, for which he had a natural ‘eye’.

While on a school trip to Holland, his photographs were seen by the legendary photographer, Tom Blau, who subsequently offered Gered an apprenticeship at his famous photo agency, Camera Press.

Over a period of several months Gered worked in all the various departments that made up Camera Press, finally moving to the studio and going on various assignments in and around London.

In 1962, Gered went to Barbados with his family and began taking photographs professionally, so that upon returning to London, he was offered the chance to go to Paris for the collections, working for the fashion photographer Alec Murray.

However, this particular area of work was not for him, and on returning to London he went to work for the ‘show-biz’ portraitist, Jeff Vickers.

During 1963, Gered met and photographed the singing duo Chad and Jeremy, who had just signed with Ember records, and from then on began to work with producers such as John Barry, Shel Talmy and Chris Blackwell, photographing artists who were his own age group and who felt at ease with him in a way that had not been possible with other photographers.

By the end of 1963, he had opened his first studio, at 9 Masons Yard in the heart of London’s West End (surrounded by the infamous disco 'The Scotch of St. James' and the art gallery 'Indica', partly financed by The Beatles and where John Lennon met Yoko Ono.

Within a few months he had been approached to photograph Marianne Faithful and in early 1965, he was asked to photograph the Rolling Stones. The assignment proved a major turning point in Gered’s career, because from this first session came the cover for Out of Our Heads, which resulted in him being asked to go to America with the Stones on their record breaking 1965 tour.

During this nine-week (48 city) tour of the States, Gered captured the Stones on stage and off, and got particularly close to Keith Richards and Charlie Watts. His collaboration with the band lasted until 1967, when the band broke off with their manager.

Through the 60’s, Gered continued in the music world working with major artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Free, Traffic, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, Soft Machine; and through the 70’s with Slade, Gary Glitter, Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Elton John, Kate Bush, Eurythmics, ABC, Duran Duran and many others.

During this decade, Gered worked in other areas of photography, including advertising, book covers and a brief spell taking ‘stills’ on movies, including several months in Sardinia with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on the ill-fated movie 'Boom'.

Over the past 20 years, Gered has been based at his North London studio, a converted Victorian chapel, taking prize-winning photos for the advertising industry. He has also been a regular contributor to several major publications, and still works occasionally in the music business, photographing bands and singers for album covers and magazines.

Most recntly, he has contributed regularly to Mojo magazine and shot sessions with current artists such as Oasis, Verve, Catatonia, and Kula Shaker and many others.

Prints of Gered’s work are selling in London, New York, Washington DC, Las Angeles and Tokyo, and in August 1991 several of Gered’s images sold for record prices at Sotheby’s in London.

Gered is currently working on a book of new portraits to be published in 2003 to celebrate 40 years as a photographer.

RELATED LINKS: Click here for the official Gered Mankowitz site...
Click here for links to other Rolling Stones' photographers' sites...