Icon: Music Through the Lens

S1 E3 | CLIP

Using Vaseline As a Filter

During a shoot with The Rolling Stones photographer Gered Mankowitz came up with a new way to add a filter to his photos by using Vaseline.

AIRED: July 30, 2021 | 0:01:56

(upbeat rock music)

- "Between the Buttons" was sort of almost

the first conceptual album.

I had an idea, I suggested it,

everybody went with it,

but I didn't know it was going to be the album cover

until it was actually decided.

- "Between the Buttons" was interesting

because how on earth do you get a group

to look together when, for many many aspects of the group,

it's falling apart at the seams?

- I never liked shooting with manufactured filters.

I never liked that,

because anybody could buy the same filter,

and get the same effect.

So I got a piece of glass and black card,

and put some Vaseline,

and I discovered that if you smear the Vaseline in a circle,

you get a particular flare.

And if you do it in straight lines coming out of the middle,

you get another type of flare.

And I just thought, "Oh, this is crazy, this is strange.

"I love the way they're dissolving into the trees, man."

- When we were doing the shoot,

Gered was concerned that Brian was not fitting in.

I remember chewing cocaine leaves in Colombia,

and as it's at 8,000 feet,

and therefore a little closer to where Brian may be resting,

I looked up and said, "Oh, Brian, you fool.

"Why did you have to take it so seriously?"

But there he was, looking like Charles Laughton

in a psychedelic movie.

And it worked.

- If Gered was here,

I would tell him that he influenced me,

in that I do use a little Vaseline

around the lens sometimes.

I shot The Killers with that effect.

- I've always wanted to buy

some of Gered Manokwitz's photographs.

I went to an exhibition, but I couldn't quite afford it,

and he had some fantastic shots of the Stones.

You are glad that those people were photographed,

'cause they look so cool.

And for me, they're iconic.

You know, Brian Jones is there, Keith,

they're all of them, they look just brilliant,

and they've obviously been yanked out of bed at,

or hadn't been to bed.