This is the very photograph that got me interested in the whole genre of rock photography in the first place. So different from traditional sixties album cover photographs that showed big fat close ups of grinning group members, this classic cover show came with a healthy dose of attitude. The Stones were presented in black and white, seemingly squashed between the sides of some kind of irregularly shaped structure. Brian Jones dominating the frame, looking uber-cool in brown turtle neck and white trousers, and the other band members gathered closely around him. In the UK, this photograph appeared on the cover of The Stones third LP, Out of Our Heads, while our US clients know it as the cover photograph from their fifth US album, December’s Children (And Everybody’s).
It was taken by Gered Mankowitz back in 1965, when he was just 18, in Ormond Yard, just around the corner from our Piccadilly Arcade gallery. Gered’s studio at the time was in Mason’s Yard, and from his corner location, he had access to the adjoining Ormond Yard, the site of the shoot. People often assume that The Stones are looking down some kind of concrete passageway but in fact the scene was set using large two pieces of builders board that were outside Gered’s studio, where building work was in progress.
For many years, Gered was not actually able to offer this piece to collectors because the original negative was lost. Gered recalls: "This image became my first cover for the band, and was the fulfillment of a dream for me at the age of 18! The original negative for this image was lost years ago, probably stolen from my studio where security was lax to say the least, but it was returned to me after many years, having been found in an old lock-up in West London! After careful restoration I am now able to produce these beautiful photographs. One is now part of the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in London."
This photograph is a bedrock of any serious Stones collection. There are no alternates, no session photographs or out-takes – this is it.
In the exhibition it is presented on 30 x 40 inch paper, with a thumping 29 x 29 inch image, and it looks truly spectacular in this large format. It does come in a choice of size options, but having seen the 30×40 inch version, my advice is that if you are going to go, go big. Check it out below on the gallery wall, where it hangs alongside Gered’s photographs of Francoise Hardy and Marianne Faithfull.
Full details on the exhibition are here.