Jimi Hendrix at Mason's Yard
Published in Lid Magazine, Issue #15
When Gered Mankowitz photographed Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell in 1967, he had no idea the legacy he had become a part of. At the time, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was nothing more than a young experimental guitarist backed up by two musicians even greener than himself. Gered was only 21 years old and, with such a prodigious talent, already had some pretty hefty credentials. He formed his own company, GM Studios Ltd., by age sixteen, photographed the album cover for the Rolling Stone’s Out of Our Heads and, fresh off their 48 city tour, captured candid photographs of the experience on and off stage. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was just another band Gered had the pleasure of working with during the pinnacle of the Rock & Roll era. Having worked with the best, he certainly knew success when he saw it, but even he could not foresee the level of fame that the band would attain.
Gered Mankowitz’s photographs of Jimi became iconic.
The Experience: Jimi Hendrix at Mason’s Yard is a collection of black and white photographs of Jimi and his new-formed band at the dawn of their career. After only two sessions with the band, Mankowitz manages to capture the synergy of the visual expression of sound amidst the zeitgeist of the times. With these images, we are witness to the genesis of the band’s unique success.
Most of these photographs went unseen due to a lack of commercial usage until the years 1982 and 1992 when Mankowitz released a number of these portraits for viewing among London’s vibrant gallery scene. When taking these photographs, Gered Mankowitz decided to use black and white film, giving a greater sense of solemnity to the shoot. InThe Experience: Jimi Hendrix at Mason’s Yard, new color enhanced prints of his more popular photographs like “Smoking” and “Classic” have been added to the collection by using digital imaging to “Breathe new life into the portraiture,” as Mankowitz would phrase it. This new technology perfectly mirrored Jimi’s personal, psychedelic style.
Velvet and silk, military jackets, capes, scarves - Jimi clearly had a style all his own, announcing his presence everywhere he went. Nobody else looked like him at the time: A slight young black man draped in satin and lace with an exploding head of hair and an infectious smile. “He was a genius,” Mankowitz would later add, “—Somehow the rebelliousness and controversial nature of Jimi—and the fact that the poor guy died—created a mythological figure. Once that’s established, it’s impossible to break.”
The Experience: Jimi Hendrix at Mason’s Yard invites the viewer into the world of the daring, flamboyant character that was Jimi Hendrix. With each print, Gered Mankowitz captures the soulful essence of the man who helped pioneer the sound of Psychedelic Rock.
(1 of 6 covers of Lid Magazine, Issue #15: Jimi Hendrix at Mason's Yard by Gered Mankowitz, 1967)