Gered Mankowitz was born in London, England, on 3rd August 1946. The first of four sons of the author, playwright, producer 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 and having been inspired to take up photography by the legendary actor Peter Sellers, who was a business associate of his father’s, Gered’s photographs were seen by the photographer Tom Blau, who offered him an apprenticeship at his famous photo agency, Camera Press Ltd., in London. 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 1961, Gered went to Barbados with his family and began taking photographs professionally using a Hasselblad 500C camera; producing work that ranged from architectural studies for the island’s top architect to the first Boeing 707 landing at Bridgetown airport for British West Indian Airways.
On returning to London, Gered was offered a chance to go to Paris for the autumn collections, working for the highly thought of and famously dapper fashion photographer Alec Murray. Despite the glamour and exciting atmosphere, it was clear that this particular genre of photography was not for him, and on returning to London he went to work for the ‘show-biz’ portraitist, Jeff Vickers MBE hons FRPS. Gered had already photographed the Bristol Old Vic production of the American musical play “Fiorello” in 1962 and his photos had been used for the front of theatre display in Bristol and when the show transferred to London’s Piccadilly Theatre. This made him the youngest photographer to have his pictures used in this way; so, working for Jeff Vickers gave him an opportunity to develop his ‘show-biz’ contacts and to broaden his experience in the studio under Jeff’s expert guidance, taking portraits of many actors and other personalities.
Early in 1963, together with Jeff Vickers Gered opened his first studio at 9 Masons Yard in the heart of London’s West End. On one side was the infamous disco “The Scotch of St.James”, hangout of the pop glitterati of the time and where Jimi Hendrix was to play on his first night in the city in 1966, and on the other the art gallery “Indica”, partly financed by The Beatles and where John Lennon first met Yoko Ono.
During 1963, Gered met and photographed the singing duo Chad and Jeremy, who had just signed with Ember records. One of these photos was used as the cover of the duo’s first album, “Yesterday’s Gone”, and Gered found himself working in the music industry at a time when it desperately needed new, mould breaking images. He began to work with a new generation of producer/managers like John Barry, Shel Talmy and Chris Blackwell photographing artists who were of his own generation and who felt at ease with him in a way that had not been possible with the old school of established photographers.
Within a few months Gered had already begun to make a name for himself in the music business, and as a result of a chance meeting with Marianne Faithfull, who had just released her first single “As Tears Go By”, invited her to pose for him which she willingly did. They instantly got on well and after several sessions with her Gered 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 6 week (36 city) tour of the U.S. Gered photographed the Stones on stage and off, and got particularly close to Keith and Charlie. There were many adventures as Gered found himself on the road with the greatest Rock band in the world at the peak of their original success. Gered continued working with the Stones as their ‘official’ photographer, producing photos for other albums (“Between the Buttons”; “Got Live If You Want It”; “Big Hits”; and several others), press and publicity, taken at home, in the recording studio, on stage and behind the scenes until mid-1967, when the band broke off with their manager Oldham.
Through the 60’s, Gered continued in the music world working with Oldham at his famous Immediate label, and with many major artists including Jimi Hendrix, Free, Traffic, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces and Soft Machine. Into the 70s and into the 80s with Slade, Gary Glitter, Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Elton John, Kate Bush, Eurythmics, ABC, Duran Duran and many others.
During this period, Gered also worked in other areas of photography, including advertising, book covers and a brief spell of taking ‘stills’ on movies, including several months in Sardinia in 1968 with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on the ill-fated movie “Boom”.
For over 22 years from 1979 Gered was based at his North London studio, a converted Victorian chapel, taking prize-winning photos for the advertising industry. During this period, he was also a regular contributor to several major publications including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Observer Magazine and Mojo magazine as well as continuing his career in the music industry shooting sessions with artists such as Oasis, Verve, Catatonia, Kula Shaker, Embrace, The Buena Vista Social Club, Snow patrol, The Bravery, Dukes Spirit, Patrick Wolf and many others.
In 1982 Gered had a major exhibition of his work at London’s famous Photographers’ Gallery. 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.
In September and November 1992 Gered had a great success with his one-man exhibition called ENTERTAINERS at the Cromwell and Ward Gallery in Dean Street, London. After an extended period, the exhibition went on to tour the UK & Europe throughout 1993/4 and marked the turning point in Gered’s transition to becoming one of the most sought after and collected music photographers in the world.
In March 1995 the well-respected publishing house Genesis Books published a limited edition (1750 copies) book of Gered’s Rolling Stones photographs entitled Masons Yard to Primrose Hill and in July 1995 there were several exhibitions based on the book. Because of the huge success of this publication Genesis published a further book called I-Contact, which contains Gered’s entire black & white Rolling Stones archive of over 5000 images reproduced as 12 x 16 contact sheets.
Gered published a new book of his Rolling Stones photographs in September 2002 with Vision On Publishers which was launched with an all new Rolling Stones exhibit at the Proud Camden Gallery. This same show was then presented in Hamburg as part of Universal Music’s launch of the re-issued Rolling Stones catalogue of CD’s.
Gered celebrated his 50th anniversary in 2013 with a superb Retrospective book published by Carlton Books of London, with US and French editions published in 2014. During 2013 Gered also had major exhibitions in Amsterdam, Tokyo and London celebrating his 50 years as a music photographer.
The Retrospective exhibition at London’s Snap Gallery consolidated Gered’s long relationship with this important West End gallery, and in 2014 this relationship was greatly enhanced with the Kate Bush Exhibition which has resulted in the superb WOW! book of photographs of Kate published by the gallery’s sister company Ormond Yard Press.
Gered continued his relationship with Snap Gallery with a Rolling Stones exhibition and a new Ormond Yard Press book in April 2016 as well as a new Hendrix exhibition in 2017 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gered’s sessions with the great musician.
In 2016 Gered was awarded the distinction of a Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.
In 2017 Gered embarked on a collaboration with his old friend the Royal artist Christian Furr and together they created 45RPM, an exhibition of 45 remarkable and unique prints which were first shown at the prestigious 45 Park Lane and will continue to be shown around the UK throughout the coming years.
In 2018 he started work on the TV series ICON-MUSIC THROUGH THE LENS based on his original idea, in collaboration with the director Dick Carruthers and fellow Executive Producer Andy Saunders – this extensive 6-part series is being broadcast in November/December 2020 by SKY ARTS in the UK and will be shown in the USA and Europe in 2021
A new book of his Rolling Stones images called GOIN’ HOME-THE ROLLING STONES 1966 was published by Reel Art Press in November 2020.
Also, in 2020 Gered published a very special limited-edition book of his photographs of Marianne Faithfull in conjunction with Ormond Yard Press.
Back in 2007 Gered moved to Cornwall in the beautiful south west of England and spends most of his time working from his home there, producing personal work as well as running his archive and he has also lectured at Falmouth University.