Gered Mankowitz: Vintage Stones, Atlas Gallery, London

Gered Mankowitz: Vintage Stones marks the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones’ formation and brings together over 1000 previously unseen vintage silver gelatin prints. Shot by the group’s photographer, Gered Mankowitz, the exhibition includes the earliest surviving prints of the band, both on and off stage, and documents the period 1965-1967 when they were still relatively unknown. Running at Atlas Gallery, London, until 31 January, the pieces will also be available for purchase.

Displayed by theme, the historic archive has been split into: In the Studio, Backstage, Live Performances, At Home, Recording, and Album Covers. Among the selection are a variety of works, ranging from images of The Rolling Stones on their first US tour in 1965, group shots, profile portraits, to pictures shot at Redlands (Keith Richard’s country estate).

Since the early 1960s Mankowitz gained increasing recognition as a “showbiz” photographer. He was approached to photograph Marianne Faithfull in 1965, after which he began working with her producer and manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, who introduced him to another band he was managing: The Rolling Stones. At the young age of 17, Mankowitz’s youth appealed to Oldham who believed it could contribute to an edgy element in the images, giving the stars a personality.

The photographer went on to capture a number of album cover shots, including Out of Heads (U.S. Title December’s Children), Between the Buttons and Got it Live if you Want it. He was also invited to tour with the band in America in 1965, during which time he photographed the band both off and on stage. He continued working with the group, becoming particularly close with Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, until the band broke off with their manager Oldham in 1967.

Throughout the 1960’s Mankowitz continued to work within the music industry, capturing the portraits of many other major artists including Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Kate Bush, Eurythmics and many others. In recent years he has worked with contemporary artists such as Oasis, The Verve, and Snow Patrol.

Gered Mankowitz: Vintage Stones, 5 December – 26 January, Atlas Gallery, 1 Blandford Street, London, W1U 3DA.

1. Gered Mankowitz -Contact sheet from the first session with The Rolling Stones, Mason’s Yard, Early 1965.