What’s in my travel bag: Gered Mankowitz

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Chris Anderson spoke to the celebrated British photographer on what he packs in his suitcase.


Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, and Kate Bush are among the musical icons to have stared down the lens of photographer Gered Mankowitz. With a career dating back to the 1960s, his images have graced album covers, magazines, books, and gallery exhibitions.

Naturally, his meetings with the famous and talented have seen him travel the world, although he insists that nothing beats his trip to North America with the Rolling Stones in 1965 – aged just 19. “I had already been working with them for a while and had shot some album covers, but then they invited me on tour,” he says. “It was an extraordinary period. We toured the States for five weeks, to all of the major cities, but it wasn’t particularly glamorous, not like their concerts these days – on the road, it was just the band, the support act, one roadie, and me.”

Images from the trip are included in the photographer’s latest book, Backstage: The Rolling Stones by Gered Mankowitz. “I’ve always felt that the images taken backstage at their concerts told more of a story than the posed shots or album covers,” he says. “You can look at a sequence, with them relaxed or joking around, and it really gives a sense of being there.”

No touring is planned for the near future, but should Gered get the call, these items will be waiting to accompany him:

Hasselblad camera:When I’m shooting commercially, or if I know I’ll get some downtime on a trip, I’ll take my Hasselblad camera. I have my eye on the latest model, the H6D (around US$26,000), but for now will make do with my slightly older version.

MacBook Pro:My trusty laptop is a slightly older model, but still does the job. I try not to take it with me on every trip, but I will use it for some.

iPad:This goes everywhere with me. I’ll load it up with music and TV shows I’ve missed, with either Sennheiser foldable headphones if luggage space is tight or a Bose QuietComfort set for long haul.

Sony compact:I also pack my Sony NEX-7, which is incredibly light, versatile, and small, but gives me enough pixels to shoot more than a snap if I need to.

Hard drive:I always have my high-capacity hard drive with me, which is a 3TB Toshiba Canvio. It has so much space, but isn’t that much larger than a smartphone.

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