Gered Mankowitz was born in London in 1946, the first son of the author and screen writer Wolf Mankowitz and the psychotherapist Ann Mankowitz.
He left school at age 15, devoid of any academic qualifications, and served a short but intensive apprenticeship at Camera Press Ltd., having been inspired to pursue photography by the actor Peter Sellers.
Gered established his first studio in Mason’s Yard in 1963, in what was to become the very heart of '60s swinging London. In 1963, Gered met and photographed the singing duo Chad and Jeremy and one of those photos was used as the cover of the duo’s first album, Yesterday’s Gone. He began to work with a new generation of producers like John Barry, Shel Talmy and Chris Blackwell photographing artists who were of his own age group and who felt at ease with him in a way that had not been possible with other photographers.
Within a few months Gered had already begun to make a name for himself, and he was approached to photograph Marianne Faithfull, who had just had a big hit with “As Tears Go By”. Working closely with Marianne he got to know her manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham. In early 1965, Oldham asked him to photograph the Rolling Stones, who he also managed and produced. This was a major turning point in Gered’s career, because from this first session came the cover for Out of Our Heads (U.S. title December’s Children), and as a result he was asked by the Stones to go to America with them on their record breaking 1965 autumn tour. During this 9 week (48 city) tour of the U.S. Gered photographed the Rolling Stones on stage and off. He continued working with the Stones as their 'official’ photographer, producing photos for albums (Between the Buttons; Got Live If You Want It; Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass); and several others), press and publicity, taken at home, in the recording studio, on stage and behind the scenes until 1967, when the band broke off with their manager, Oldham, by which time Gered was established as one of London’s leading music photographers.
Early in 1967 (a few months before Jimi Hendrix took the world by storm at The Monterey Pop Festival), Gered worked with The Jimi Hendrix Experience during two sessions at his Mason’s Yard studio, producing images of Jimi that would go on to become some of the most iconic and widely known portraits of the great musician.
Through the 60’s, Gered photographed many other major music artists including Free, Traffic, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces and Soft Machine. Because of the quality of his work, Gered’s skills were in such demand that during the 1970s thru 1980s he took portrait shots and album covers of artists such as George Harrison, Elton John, The Jam, Slade, Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Kate Bush, Billy Idol, Eurythmics, Duran Duran and many others.
In 1982 Gered had a major exhibition of his work at London’s famous Photographers’ Gallery. This was seen by over 16,000 people, a record for the gallery at the time, and it then toured the U.K. for over 2 years. This exhibition was the first in the U.K. to focus on the world of music and was a pathfinder in this genre. In 1984 a book based on this exhibition, called “Hit Parade”, was published in the U.K. and U.S.A. Also in 1984 a book of Gered’s Rolling Stones photographs, called Satisfaction, was published. Both books were very well received, and as a result there began the growing interest in the Gered Mankowitz archive.
Over the past 50 plus years Gered has continued to work in the music business as well as contributing to many leading magazines and also taking prize winning images for the advertising industry.
In 2016 Gered was awarded the distinction of a Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society.
He is based in Cornwall where he has also been a part-time lecturer at University College Falmouth.
We have admired Gered’s images for many many years and it’s truly an honor to rep his music stills that have been viewed and loved by millions across the globe. When asked why he chose Reelin’ In The Years Photo Archive to handle his incredible body of work he replied “In these days of monolithic corporations it is a joy to be working with such a passionate and knowledgeable person as David Peck and his team at Reelin’ In The Years Photo Archive”
Top row: George Harrison- Cloud Nine Album Cover 1987, Jimi Hendrix- London 1967, Elton John- Greatest Hits Vol II Album Cover 1977
Bottom row: The Jam- This Is The Modern World Album Cover 1977, Rolling Stones- Out Of Our Heads UK Album Cover (Released as December's Children In America), The Yardbirds- London 1966 With Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page
all photos ©Gered Mankowitz