Photographer Gered Mankowitz is the subject of a major retrospective exhibition from 28 April to 16 June at specialist music photography gallery Snap
, in the heart of St Jamesʼs in central London.
The exhibition features over 100 photographs from Geredʼs entire career, spanning four decades of music photography. This is the largest collection of photographs Gered has ever exhibited, and it is his first career retrospective.
Gered is best known for his 1960s photographs of The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, and both subjects feature in this exhibition. During the 60s he also photographed Marianne Faithfull, Georgie Fame, Chris Farlowe, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Small Faces, Donovan, Spencer Davies group and PP Arnold to name a few, before moving into the progressive end of the decade with Free, Soft Machine, Traffic and The Nice. Guy Stevens, London DJ and scenemaker who did so much to promote the Sue Label, is featured in the show, captured sitting on the floor with his record player and a clutch of Sue label singles, originally shot as part of the cover session for the SUE STORY album.
Gered continued photographing musicians throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties and the eclectic range of subjects in the exhibition include Kate Bush, Robert Palmer and Elkie Brooks, Sparks, Slade, The Jam, Generation X, Magazine, Duran Duran, ABC, Ride and Oasis.
Gallery owner Guy White comments The difficulty we faced - and believe me this is a good problem to have - was that Gered has an archive of such incredible breadth and depth that it was a challenge to come up with a final edit of around 40/50 pictures - a typical size for a gallery show - that did proper justice to his body of work. We came up with double that, around 100 images in the final cut. Clearly thatʼs a quantity more often associated with a major museum space than a relatively small privately owned gallery. As space prevented us from displaying 100 photographs in traditional large sizes, the solution became obvious. If everything in the show could be made in a very small size, then our problem was solved. Happily when I put this idea to Gered, he was as excited about it as I was, and the resulting exhibition, consisting entirely of beautiful 8x10 inch handmade photographs, is a fitting tribute to one of this countryʼs most important music photographers."
Gered Mankowitz comments: This is my first ever retrospective, and we have gone right back to basics. It is entirely black and white, and every one of the 100+ photographs featured in the exhibition has been made by hand in the darkroom by Barbara Wilson using traditional wet processing from the original negatives. We were very strict - if there was no original negative, then a photograph could not be part of the show. The resulting 8 x 10 inch silver gelatin photographic prints are simply exquisite: their size really draws the viewer to examine the intricate details up close. I have never exhibited or offered my work in this size before, and they really are a delight to behold. In this digital age where the values of traditional photographic techniques have been eroded, it is very important for me to be able to produce an entire exhibition using traditional methods whilst the individual skills and materials are still available.
Gered Mankowitz was born in London in 1946, the first son of the author and screen writer Wolf Mankowitz and the psychotherapist Ann Mankowitz. After attending several North London progressive schools he left devoid of any academic qualifications aged 15 and served a short but intensive apprenticeship with the legendary photographer Tom Blau at Camera Press Ltd., having been inspired to pursue photography by the actor Peter Sellers, a friend of his fatherʼs.
After two years of assisting in various different fields of photography, including a brief spell with photographer Alec Murray at the Paris autumn collections, Gered established his first studio in 1963 in Masonʼs Yard, in the very heart of 60s swinging London.
Through working with folk/pop duo Chad & Jeremy he met and photographed Marianne Faithfull who was managed by the mercurial Andrew Loog Oldham, who also managed the Rolling Stones. Gered started working with the Rolling Stones in 1965; he toured America with them later that year and produced several album covers for the band. He continued working with them on a regular basis until 1967 by which time Gered was established as one of London's leading rock photographers.
In 1967 Gered shot two sessions with Jimi Hendrix and his band The Experience and these images have subsequently become the most iconic studio images of the great musician.
Over the past 45 years Gered has continued to work in the music business as well as supplying many leading magazines with celebrity portraits and also finding time to take prize winning images for the advertising industry.
In recent years Gered has been concentrating on books and exhibitions, trying to satisfy the considerable global interest that has built up in his archive since 1992.
In 2009 Gered was one of the panel of judges for the Sony World Photography Awards sharing the role with some of the most famous names in photography including, Mary Ellen Mark, Bruce Davidson and Sarah Moon.
He moved his studio and home to Cornwall in 2007 and is also a part-time lecturer at University College Falmouth.