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Gered Mankowitz, A Retrospective, RedHouse Originals, Harrogate, until August 31
GERED Mankowitz has gone back to basics for the first career retrospective of his four decades of music photography, on show at the RedHouse Originals Gallery in Harrogate.
“It’s entirely black and white, and every one of the 100-plus photographs featured in the exhibition has been made by hand in the darkroom by Barbara Wilson using traditional wet processing from the original negatives,” says Gered, who is best known for his iconic 1960s’ photographs of The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.
“We were very strict: if there was no original negative, then a photograph could not be part of the show.”
The eight by ten-inch size of the archival silver gelatin photographic prints “really draws the viewer to examine the intricate details up close”, suggests Gered.
“I’ve 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’s very important for me to be able to produce an entire exhibition using traditional methods while the individual skills and materials are still available,” he says.
On display – and frankly essential viewing – until August 31, Mankowitz’s largest ever collection of photographs features not only the Stones and Hendrix but a doe-eyed Marianne Faithfull, Georgie Fame, The Yardbirds, Small Faces, Donovan and Spencer Davis Group, before moving on to the progressive end of the Sixties with Soft Machine, Traffic and Free. Look out for the ferocious, leonine hair of Free’s Paul Kossoff, the hirsute highlight of the show.
Mankowitz continued photographing musicians throughout the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties (and he still is, as witnessed by his press shots for the exquisitely camp Patrick Wolf, not part of the show).
The Seventies are represented by definitive images of a teenage Kate Bush in an infamously revealing leotard and later contorted inside a wooden box; smooth operator Robert Palmer in a clinch with Elkie Brooks; the playfulness of Sparks, Sweet and Slade; and the urban wasteland of The Jam’s 1977 sleeve for This Is The Modern World (only this time in even more striking black and white).
Onwards through late-Seventies’ Generation X and Magazine, to Eighties’ sharp suits Duran Duran and ABC, the exhibition concludes with second division Nineties’ guitar bands Ride and Kula Shaker and cocksure kings-in-waiting Oasis in their breakthrough year of 1994. Liam has never looked more the rock star, insurrectionist attitude writ large in his cheekbones.
The exhibition was premiered in London in April at specialist music photography gallery Snap, where Jimmy Page joined Mankowitz for the official opening.
Gered was in attendance again at last Saturday’s launch of the retrospective’s northern debut, and it was a chance to ask him why Jimi Hendrix’s skin was so blotchy. “Bad food,” he revealed, as only someone with such close access to the volcanic guitarist would know.
• Gered Mankowitz, A Retrospective runs at RedHouse Originals, Cheltenham Mount, Harrogate, until August 31, presented in partnership with the Harrogate International Festival Fringe. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm, and on Sundays by appointment on 01423 884400; admission is free.