Is this the definitive Rolling Stones shoot? Beggars Banquet at the Blink Gallery

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Being a HUGE Rolling Stones fan I belted down Poland Street this week to take in the new exhibition of photographs shot for the 1968 album Beggars Banquet at the very rock n roll Blink Gallery.

Shot about a year before Brian Jones death on the 18 and 19th of June at the rather grand Swarkestone in Derbyshire and Sarum Chase in Hampstead the stones plus three dogs, a cat, a goat and a sheep recreated a medieval banquet amongst other suitably debauched scenes including “The Rolling Stones do Cricket”.

The exhibition is really impressive and has sinister overtones in the whole “Paint in Black”style. It’s a shame that my heroine Miss Anita Pallenberg is not in any of them. She would fit right in as the Chief Witch of the Black Arts – in fact I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she styled the whole thing.

However, we know that this is not the case and that it was legendary photographer Michael Joseph who arranged the whole thing.

‘The shot in my portfolio that got me the job was a boardroom scene involving a hippie bloke who was a Mick Jagger lookalike,’ says Michael Joseph, the South African-born snapper, famous for shots of the Vietnam war. ‘I was the only photographer in town handling so-called orgies featuring lots of characters and, quite often, animals.’

The exhibition reveals the events of those two extraordinary days to the public for the first time. Despite the internal conflict, Joseph’s memories are positive: ‘Keith was the easiest. Charlie was laid-back. Brian was upset at having been busted [for marijuana possession a few weeks earlier] but he had a labrador to play with.’

For anyone with even a hint of interest in rock culture and the 60s it is a must see so get down there pronto – there are also some rather cool Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin photos in the basement too!

The Beggars Banquet Collection is at the Blink Gallery, Poland St, London until 6 December

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