Born in 1941, Michael Cooper first met London’s influential art dealer Robert Fraser in 1964. Through Fraser he was quickly immersed in the heady world of the Swinging London scene including the many noted artists, writers, poets, models, and musicians of the day. He became particularly close with The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, for whom his most famous works were produced.
An intimate of The Rolling Stones during the band’s earliest years, Michael Cooper chronicled the group’s rise from the blues clubs of London to international stardom. Referred to as the band’s “court photographer” from 1963 until his untimely death in 1973, Cooper at one point lived with Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg, cultivating the sort of comradeship that allowed him to capture some of the most unguarded and honest images taken of the Stones during their first decade.
Widely acknowledged to be the inspiration for Michelangelo Antonioni’s seminal Sixties film, Blow-Up, most of Cooper's photos are a reportage of what he and his famous friends happened to be doing that day. However, Cooper was also behind the lens at two of the decade’s most iconic album cover shoots. The legendary staging of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper ́s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover was set up in his studio, and he shot a number of photographs during that session, in addition to contributing several physical elements to the scene. He also travelled to New York with the Stones to mastermind the Their Satanic Majesties' Request album cover, both of which remain quintessential images of the era’s psychedelic sensibility.
He also collaborated with such esteemed artists as Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Peter Blake and David Hockney, as well as writers like William Burroughs, Jean Genet, and Allen Ginsberg. The informality and intimacy of his portraits make his pictures incredibly candid, often funny and sometimes sad. Each seems to be the perfect evocation of an era that changed the world forever.
Photographs by Michael Cooper are available as Estate Authorized Limited editions. A wide selection is below, please contact us if you are interested in a specific image not shown.