Gered Mankowitz was born in London, England. The first of four sons of the late author, playwright and film writer Wolf Mankowitz and his wife, the Jungian psychotherapist Ann Mankowitz.
After an education of sorts at several London co-educational “progressive” schools, he left at 15, avoiding all exams and completed his education devoid of any formal qualifications.
Having displayed a natural ‘eye’ for photography whilst on a school trip to Holland, Mankowitz was inspired to take up photography by the actor Peter Sellers. His photographs were eventually seen by the legendary photographer Tom Blau, who offered the young Mankowitz an apprenticeship at his famous photo agency, Camera Press Ltd. in London. Over a period of several months he 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.
Within a few months Mankowitz had already begun to make a name for himself, and was approached to photograph Marianne Faithful, 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 Mankowitz’ career, because from this first session came the cover for Out of Our Heads, and as a result he was asked by the Stones to go to America with them on their record breaking 1965 Autumn Tour.
There were many adventures whilst on the road with the greatest rock band in the world at the peak of their original success. Mankowitz continued working with the Stones as their official photographer until 1967. He produced portraits for albums including Between the Buttons, Got Live If You Want It!, and Big Hits. In addition to this he was also responsible for press and publicity shots taken at home, in the recording studio, on stage and behind the scenes.
For the next forty years Mankowitz continued to work in the music industry and his portraits read like a who’s who of the key players at the time. Jimi Hendrix, Free, Traffic, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, Soft Machine, Elton John, Slade, Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Kate Bush, The Jam, Eurythmics, ABC, Duran Duran and many more have looked down the lens of Mankowitz’ camera.
Mankowitz’s photographs feature prominently in The National Portrait Gallery and his work is held in numerous international collections in Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Dubai and Tokyo.
Mankowitz now lives and works in Cornwall.
The Backstage Sessions: Gered Mankowitz