Gered Mankowitz: Off the Hook at Snap GalleriesCultureArt
There is no shortage of photographs featuring the Rolling Stones – Jagger’s despondent expression is ingrained in the conscious of music fans everywhere. But you’d be hard pushed to find a more intimate set of images than Gered Mankowitz’s recently unveiled collection, now showing at Snap Galleries.
Off the Hook displays a series of photographs Mankowitz took from the more exclusive moments of the band’s lives. Up until now the shots have been sitting unexplored in his archive, but they are now being released in the form of an ultra-large limited-edition book entitled Backstage.
The book is a colossal 18 x 24 inches in size, weighing in at a staggering nine kilograms. You’d need a roadie and a small crew to lift the thing into your home, extending the term “coffee table book” into the territory of “dinner table book”. It’s the fullest immersion into the Stones’ world you can achieve without having been Richards’ personal hairbrush caddy.
Exploring the collection partly explains why Mankowitz might have held these images back: they invite you to experience what it would have been like to actually be a Rolling Stone – an understandable thing to protect. Now, 50 years on from the release of Aftermath, a door has swung open on a weighty hardback cover.
Aside from lighting up Marlboroughs and the sheer height of Richards’ hair-do, one of the collection’s common threads is the range of emotions on display. This is summed up by a triptych of staged promotional photographs, one of which sees the band wearing jovial smiles, another is downbeat and serious and the last one a mixture – comprising a disinterested Richards, a ciggy-puffing Brian Jones and a yawning Charlie Watts.
In front of the media, the Stones were the first group to cultivate the moody aura that is so ubiquitous in this day and age. Before Jagger and co frowned their way through interviews with cocksure apathy, bands were toothy-grinned pin-ups.
Whether or not this image was just a calculated façade is anyone’s guess, but Off the Hook displays a mixture of youthful ease and the encumbrance of fame. A poignant photograph features Jagger staring meaningfully at a microphone that hangs above him. His face shows confidence, fear and determination simultaneously. This collection displays all of these emotions and more, and is the closest you will get to being a Rolling Stone.
Gered Mankowitz: Off The Hook is at Snap Galleries from 1st April until 28th May 2016, for further information visit here.