Gered Mankowitz FRPS was born in London in 1946. He was the first of four sons of the author, playwright and screenwriter Wolf Mankowitz and his wife, the psychotherapist Ann Mankowitz.
He left school at fifteen, avoiding all exams, and completed his education devoid of any formal qualifications. He was inspired to take up photography by the legendary actor Peter Sellers, who was a business associate of his father. Photographer Tom Blau saw Gered’s photographs and offered him an apprenticeship at his famous photo agency, Camera Press Ltd, in London. In 1961 Gered was offered a chance to go to Paris for the autumn collections, working for fashion photographer Alec Murray. On returning to London he went to work for the portraitist Jeff Vickers, where Gered developed his show business contacts and broadened his experience in the studio, taking portraits of many actors and other personalities.
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.
At the end of 1963 Gered opened his first studio at 9 Mason’s Yard in the heart of St James’s in London’s West End. Within a few months Gered had already begun to make a name for himself in the music business, and through his work with Marianne Faithfull Gered met her manager and producer Andrew Loog Oldham. In early 1965, Oldham asked him to photograph the Rolling Stones, whom 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 (US 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. Gered continued working with the Stones as their ‘official’ photographer, producing photos for albums and for press and publicity until mid-1967, when the band broke off with their manager Oldham.
Early in 1967 Gered worked with Jimi Hendrix & The Experience for 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 1960’s, Gered continued in the music world working with Oldham at his famous Immediate label, and with many major artists including Free, Traffic, The Yardbirds, Small Faces and Soft Machine, and into the 1970’s with Slade, Gary Glitter, Suzi Quatro, Sweet, Elton John, Kate Bush, Eurythmics, ABC, Duran Duran and many others.
In 1982 Gered had a major exhibition of his work at London’s famous Photographers’ Gallery, which was seen by over 16,000 people—a record for the gallery at the time, and it then toured the UK for over two years. This exhibition was the first in the UK 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 UK and USA. Further books and exhibitions have followed over the years. He continued 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, The Duke Spirit and many others.
In 2007 Gered moved to Cornwall in the beautiful south west of England and spends most of his time working from his home, producing personal work as well as running his archive, and lecturing at Falmouth University. In 2016 he was awarded the distinction of a Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society. In 2020 Gered was the Executive Producer of ICON-Music Through the Lens, a six part television documentary series about music photography.