50 years after forming their first lineup in 1962, a special group show and sale at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York celebrates the Rolling Stone's through photographs of the iconic band that pretty much defined rock-and-roll. The extensive group show includes photos by Michael Cooper, Henry Diltz, Barry Feinstein, Lynn Goldsmith, Bob Gruen, Michael Joseph, Gered Mankowitz, Andee Nathanson, Terry O'Neill, Neal Preston, Ken Regan, Ethan Russell, Dave Stewart, Barrie Wentzell and Ian Wright. Both experienced as well as newer photographers are represented in the show, and the photos come from produced situations as used in publicity imagery, as well as more photojournalistic natural conditions ranging from intimate private moments to performances on stage in front of thousands.
Overall the imagery remain timeless, dramatic, and beautiful, while clearly screaming rock-and-roll through the strong presence of the personas in each photo. It's amazing that after 50 years, the Rolling Stones remain relevant to this day - with Mick Jagger just announcing a gig hosting and playing the Saturday Night Live season finale, and these images give a glimpse into a generation's cultural statement.
The press release includes great quotes from the photographers themselves recalling their experience with the band, as enclosed below.
Henry Diltz - "My main connection to the Rolling Stones was the three week tour I photographed in '79 of Ron Wood's solo group, "The New Barbarians".The group featured Keith Richards on guitar, Stanley Clarke on bass, and Ian McLagan on keyboards. We barn-stormed the country in a private luxury jet and stayed in luxurious hotels in major cities. Keith and Ronnie were like two little kids, laughing and enjoying everything that happened. It was like The Rolling Stones without the boss (Mick Jagger) being there, so everyone felt a sense of freedom and everything was allowed. I enjoyed three weeks of amazing music and a window on an amazing lifestyle."
Lynn Goldsmith - "It was 1978 and I was on tour with the Rolling Stones. I am not sure where we were, but it was procedure that after the last number you ran really quickly to the limo to get to the private plane to go to the next stop on the tour. The band didn't stay in a hotel. They got off the stage, into a car, on a plane and were out of that city. At this one particular venue there was this local security guard working the show. He was a big, big guy and as I ran to leave he literally swept me off my feet into his arms and would not let me down. I see Mick running past me, the band's entourage running to catch the limo. I am kicking my legs and yelling at this guy "Look! Here are my passes! Put me down!" He wouldn't let me go. The next thing I know, Keith runs by and says "Put her down!" and the guy brushed him off and still wouldn't put me down. So, Keith hit him. And this big guy finally put me down. If I hadn't made it to that limo to make the plane then the next thing I shot of the band, which ended up being the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in 1978, never would have happened. Keith Richards is my hero."
Gered Mankowitz - "I was 18 years old and although I had been "in the business" for a couple of years already, the Stones were by far the most important band to grace my studio which was in the heart of Swinging London at 9 Mason's Yard. I had met them all a few months previously in anticipation of this session and they were charming, fun and encouraging. I think they all felt very positive about how things were going for them at that moment, and with (I Can't Get No) "Satisfaction" still to be released some months in the future, they were on the verge of exploding on both sides of the Atlantic. The session couldn't have gone any better and with an album sleeve (December's Children), several singles bags, press images and the US tour book cover coming out of it. It couldn't have been more successful for me and confirmed my position with the band which was to continue for nearly three years into 1967."
Terry O'Neill - "I'd just photographed a young up and coming band called The Beatles in 1963 and the pictures had sold out the newspaper they appeared in. I'd seen the Stones play in a few London clubs and decided to make them my next project. Brian was the leader, Mick was the front man who couldn't play an instrument, but the girls were mesmerized by him. Keith was the coolest. I thought they had something special and decided to make them my next project. They were so different. The record companies and the television shows wanted clean cut young men in suits. These guys were the first rebels. I remember sitting in a club with the Stones when John Lennon and Paul McCartney walked in. We all knew each other and chatted about the future. We were just lads, were all having a ball. The 60's hadn't really happened yet and we talked about how long it would last before we all had to get proper jobs in banks and things. The Stones were struggling to find a hit and Paul and John rapped out on the table a song they were writing and told them they could have it - "I Wanna Be Your Man". In the end, both bands recorded it but it was the Stones who had the hit. It was their launch pad. They're still pals to this day. We were all living in the moment then - our first taste of freedom, girls, and money - a big crowd of young kids doing their own thing, milking it. London was one big party but we all felt the clock ticking towards midnight. Funny how it's 50 years and it's still ticking."
Ken Regan - "In 1972 I was assigned to photograph one of my all-time favorite bands, the Rolling Stones, for Time Magazine. Little did I know that this would lead to a 30-year working relationship with the band. The more time that I spent with the Stones the more impressed I became with how loyal they were to their people, especially Allan Dunn and Jane Rose. It was a blessing to be in this sort of company. Over the years, Mick and Keith have been gracious enough to include me as part of not only the monumental moments of their career, but also their lives."
Ethan Russell - "Peter Townshend would not infrequently say to me in frustration: "Tell us what to do!" The Rolling Stones never did. It was not my nature to tell the artists I photographed what to do---God they were too big, are you kidding? As a result, of all the photographs I have of the Rolling Stones, only a relatively few are of "The Group" and of those fewer still are of the group posing. For me, working with them was in large measure to be left alone. Today I call most of the photography I see of musical artists "product photography" - it seems designed to be that way. In fairness, this was not a brand new phenomenon in the music biz. It was equally true of a lot of the photography from the fifties. Once someone would break the mold---a la Elvis---the companies would recreate it. The Rolling Stones were outside of this. They grew up outside the system (Although not all of them, not entirely. Dig up early photos of Bill Wyman). Since the photographs weren't mediated, art directed or manipulated, the viewer gets to really be there.... like I was. There's a lot in this, both happenstance and perhaps on purpose. And so we have these pictures, and so we have history---a win-win for everyone."
ROLLING STONES: CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN PHOTOGRAPHY is on display at The Morrison Hotel Gallery through May 31.