Project Description

Peter Webb photographed The Rolling Stones for their Sticky Fingers album, and famously then lost his negatives for almost 40 years.

It’s a story that would give any photographer sleepless nights. A classic photo-session for one of the biggest bands on the planet, The Rolling Stones, for the cover of one of their most critically acclaimed albums, 1971‘s Sticky Fingers. Disaster then strikes, as British photographer Peter Webb’s negatives go missing soon after the shoot. Then, out of nowhere, they are discovered again after a gap of almost 40 years.

In early 1972 Peter entrusted his photographer brother-in-law with the safe keeping of an unmarked folder of negatives, which was, as Peter recalls now, “…an essential detail which I had conveniently forgotten, in the excitement of being hired by Ridley Scott to direct commercials, and the dark room became a cutting room overnight. He called me to say he had found an unmarked bag of negatives amongst his own which “…could be the Rolling Stones.”

Contained in their pristine negative sleeves, were the strip containing the actual album sleeve image, all the best group shots from the session, and also an unexpected further delight: some individual plate camera portraits of Jagger and Richards which had never been seen before.

We offer Peter’s photographs in signed limited editions in a choice of physical sizes, some going up to six feet wide – click on the buttons as you scroll down to view prices and sizes for specific images. If you have the space, I can tell you that the fine detail means that these photographs look spectacular in large sizes. We also offer collectors a beautiful large-format limited edition signed book—which preserves all the remaining surviving photographs from Peter’s historic session with the Stones. Scroll down for all the details.

Stone Wall
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Stone Henge
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The photograph alongside was originally earmarked as the Sticky Fingers album cover image.

Ahead of the shoot, Peter Webb spent many days extensively testing both lighting and background tones. With the preparation all in place, the Stones showed up on the appointed day at Peter’s studios, the converted Victorian Riding School and Stables next to Regent’s Park in central London. He recalls:

“They immediately registered disappointment that they were going to be photographed in their own clothes, and that there was no “idea” anywhere in sight. And far from being “trouble”, the band stood like lost schoolboys on the over-scaled backdrop, and were not only compliant to my instructions in arranging them, but even seemed somewhat camera shy – which was totally unexpected.”

Andy Warhol and his Factory designer Craig Braun came up with the Sticky Fingers “Zipper” concept, which relegated Peter’s intended album cover image to a grainy dupe on an inside sleeve. It is nevertheless instantly recognisable as a classic Stones group portrait, showing Jagger standing to the left of the frame, yawning, while the other four Stones gather on the right, Bill Wyman scratching his nose.

Peter Webb christened the image “The Big Yawn”.

The Big Yawn
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The Glimmer Twins
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Cool Stones
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Sticky Fingers: Twelve by Five
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Falling Stones

“Falling Stones”, a colour portrait shot by Peter on Kodak Ektachrome 120 transparency film, is one of the most famous photographs from the Sticky Fingers session.

At some point in the shoot, Webb asked the Stones to act a little more threateningly, and Mick, Keith and the band duly obliged. Finally things loosened up to a degree, and as a one-off idea he lined up the band shoulder-to-shoulder, like a younger Dad’s Army, and encouraged them to lean sideways.

Thankfully the 1,000th second exposure time-captured this one-off event, and the resulting image was “Falling Stones”.

Falling Stones
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Random Stones
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Individual Portraits

After the group session was completed, Webb invited the band individually to an upstairs studio set up with a 5×4 Sinar plate camera, whose depth of field was so slight that a wooden rod had to be placed at the back of each band member’s head, so there would not be the slightest movement backwards.

After more searching enquiries from the various band members as to the purpose of the portraits – “Passports, is it now mate?” – Webb photographed Jagger in a number of extreme close ups, with and without a stylish Irish cap and a long-collared paisley shirt, fashionable at the time.

Sideways Stone
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Seated Stone
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Angled Stone
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Uncapped Stone
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Alert Stone
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Circular Stones

These limited edition photographs have been reverse mounted onto circular acrylic, fixed on reverse with split baton hanging system. Available in a choice of two diameters these circular artworks are supplied as a complete piece ready for hanging. Each circular artwork is signed and numbered by Peter Webb on the reverse.

Laughing Stones
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Separate Stone
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The Rogues Gallery

A special package containing six individual 8 x 10 inch photographs—which we refer to as the ‘Rogues Gallery’ portraits of the band members—plus a special 8 x 10 inch version of ‘Random Stones’, a previously unpublished colour photograph from the Sticky Fingers session. These come in limited editions of 150 and each photograph in the set is signed and numbered by Peter Webb on the front under the image area.

The Rogue Package
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Sticky Fingers: The Lost Session

Introducing a very special limited edition book

A large format limited edition book from Ormond Yard Press that you can display on your wall just like a work of art and enjoy every day.

Sticky Fingers: The Lost Session the limited edition book from Ormond Yard Press. 

Ormond Yard Press: Bringing You The Bigger Picture.

Sticky Fingers: The Lost Session – photographs by Peter Webb, the third book from our publishing arm, Ormond Yard Press, features the complete surviving archive of black and white and colour photographs from Peter Webb’s 1971 session with the Rolling Stones.

As with all Ormond Yard Press volumes, it is a book on a spectacular scale: a hardcover volume housed in its own printed slipcase and measuring 24 inches high x 18 inches wide (60x45cm) when closed, 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90cm) when open, with 96 pages of photographs. The physical scale may be large, but the edition size is reassuringly small – just 500 individually signed and numbered copies are available to collectors worldwide.

You can read more about the book, and the special wall-hanging display unit we have designed for it, here.

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Biography

As a Cambridge law graduate, Peter Webb is forever thankful he abandoned the Inns of Court for a post-university year in America. Moving straight into the world of Mad Men, he was hired as assistant to the legendary Photographer/ Director Howard Zieff (Private Benjamin, My Girl etc) in his studios a block west of Madison Avenue. On returning to London, Webb rapidly made a name as a multi-award winning advertising photographer, and was then head-hunted as a director for Ridley Scottʼs commercials company.    He later established his own company Park Village Productions, based in the magnificent Victorian Riding School and Stables in Regents Park, lovingly restored and converted by Webb himself. Park Village remains a leading production company, with Webb and his colleagues having set the bar by winning all the premier awards in the business over the years, including the Palme DʼOr at Cannes as the top Commercials company worldwide twice.

Never a man to stand still, Webb went on to direct the BAFTA award winning Butch Minds the Baby, followed by Give My Regards to Broad Street starring Paul McCartney and Bryan Brown. Webb was thrilled by the discovery of his long lost Sticky Fingers negatives in his US brother-in lawʼs London attic, where they had lain unnoticed for nearly forty years. As even more of a bonus, the negative sleeves also contained his individual plate camera portraits of the band.

In the same spirit of re-discovery, the completion this year of Webbʼs 70 minute Directorʼs Cut of Twentieth Century Fox’s 1984 theatrical release of Give My Regards to Broad Street, has led him to hope he can persuade McCartneyʼs MPL Communications Ltd to return the project to its more modest small-screen intentions.