Rolling Stones photos: new Taschen book is a must-buy

The Rolling Stones by Taschen - Gered Mankowitz cover

Rolling Stones photos – Gered Mankowitz poster for new book. (Photo of Taschen, London by Gerald Smith.)

The Rolling Stones, the new book published by Taschen, is a magnificent collection of Rolling Stones photos. At £100/$150 or less, the mass market version is a must-buy.

A sumptuous large-format coffee table book, The Rolling Stones is a beautiful artefact, setting a new standard for collections of Rolling Stones photos – indeed, for photos of any rock musicians. It is now the definitive Rolling Stones photos collection.

Rolling Stones photos by top photographers

The Rolling Stones collects together an unprecedented number and range of Rolling Stones photos. Over 500 pages long, in a choice of sizes (large and very large formats), its photos document the band over half a century.

You’ll recognise many of the pictures – the book pulls together Rolling Stones photos by many of the top photographers of the rock era: David Bailey, Bent Rej, Gered Mankowitz, Guy Webster, Ethan Russell, Anton Corbijn, Dominique Tarle, Cecil Beaton, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson, Jean-Marie Périer, Terry Richardson… and 50+ others.

It also has Rolling Stones photos you won’t have seen before, including bonus out-takes from otherwise familiar Rolling Stones photo shoots.

The original images are high quality. Taschen have executed the project with exemplary thoroughness and panache: the reproductions are first-class.

Crucially, the book has the imprimatur of the “art world”: it includes a playful contextual essay by Waldemar Januszczak – easily my favourite art documentary-maker.  Januszczak’s endorsement is more important than that by an ex-US President Stones celeb fan, which I haven’t bothered to read.

Rolling Stones photos for investors

The Rolling Stones is offered in three versions.

Rolling Stones photos book by Taschen

The Rolling Stones – limited edition, cover photo by Gered Mankowitz

The “SUMO-size” (50cm x 50cm) limited edition of 1,600 includes an Art Edition of 450, with 75 copies fronted by covers by each of David Bailey, Bent Rej, Gered Mankowitz, Guy Webster, Ethan Russell and Anton Corbijn. Prices: David Bailey cover – £10,500/$15,000; the other five covers – £7,000/$10,000.

Copies 1-450 include a signed original print.

The other 1150 limited edition copies, numbered 451-1,600, have a striking cover photo from Gered Mankowitz’s early morning Primrose Hill shoot which supplied the cover for Between the Buttons. They are priced at £3,500/$5,000.

All 1,600 are numbered and signed by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.

Serious investors tempted by the limited edition will be reassured by the Rolling Stones’ market position, their signatures, the quality of the photographs, the renown of the photographers, the edition’s limit of 1,600 copies, the sheer bravado of the product itself, as well as the Taschen brand and its marketing clout.

Before I laid out £3,500-£10,500, though, I’d need to do some homework. I’d need some hard data on the aftermarket and resale value of comparable assets – high-end rock art limited editions, Rolling Stones collectables, as well as Taschen’s other de luxe limited edition books.

Rolling Stones photos for collectors and fans

The Sumo-size limited edition version is enormous – you’d need a very strong coffee table to hold it. It dwarfs the “XL-size” (33cm x 33cm) mass market version of The Rolling Stones, which is “merely” very big.

Rolling Stones photos - Taschen book

The Rolling Stones: Taschen’s XL-size mass market edition, cover photo by Gered Mankowitz

The XL-size has the same content, in a smaller format, and it’s priced at £99.99/$150 from Taschen and selected retailers (Hatchard’s in Piccadilly, London had stock when I visited). Amazon have been discounting what looks like the same version – though there is some confusion – to £65.

For collectors and fans of Rolling Stones photos, the XL version of The Rolling Stones is, quite simply, a must-buy.

Exhibitions of Rolling Stones photos

The Rolling Stones book was launched by a celeb-magnet exhibition, “It’s Just a Shot Away”, launching Taschen’s new Los Angeles gallery at 8070 Beverly Blvd, Hollywood.

Rolling Stones photos by David Bailey

Goats Head Soup shoot by David Bailey: cover for Art Edition 1-75 and limited edition prints

The show presented over a hundred photographs by 15 of the photographers featured in the book, with high-priced limited edition prints for sale.

When I visited Taschen London on 12 March – it’s opposite The Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square – it (and, presumably, other Taschen stores) had a selection of for-sale prints on display alongside different versions of The Rolling Stones book.

How the Taschen book of Rolling Stones photos compares

The new Taschen masterwork isn’t, of course, the only book of Rolling Stones photos you can buy.  Nor is it the only high-priced, de luxe, limited edition book of Rolling Stones photos.  I’ll be reviewing the best of the groaning shelf of Stones photo books here on ROCK ART EDITIONS soon.

Rolling Stones photos – documenting the Rock Age

Ever since the emergence of the Rolling Stones in the early 1960s, a succession of top photographers – and thousands of lesser peers – have queued up to capture them on film. And the resulting images have been powerful tools in building the Stones as a global brand.

Rolling Stones photos are a central plank of rock art. The Rolling Stones by Taschen, in documenting the premier band of the Rock Age, unwittingly documents the Rock Age itself.

More information: Taschen

Copyright: images © Taschen/Gered Mankowitz 2014 and Taschen/David Bailey 2014.  (Taschen London window display photograph by Gerald Smith.)  Text by Gerald Smith.  Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

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