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Alfred Wertheimer (1929-2014)

In 1956, freelance photographer Alfred Wertheimer was assigned to photograph a 21-year-old singer who RCA was promoting. It was Elvis Presley, a name the 26-year-old Wertheimer did not recognize when he trekked down to New York City's Studio 50 (later to be named the Ed Sullivan Theater) to photograph Presley's appearance on Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey's Stage Show.

At the time, Elvis had already recorded "Heartbreak Hotel" and was beginning to gain some notoriety, but he was nowhere close to becoming a cultural icon. He could still walk the streets unrecognized, and, because of this, Alfred Wertheimer got the opportunity to shoot reams of film of Elvis both on stage and off in the last remaining months before Elvis' life would change forever.

Among his most famous shots was The Kiss, a photo of Elvis nuzzling a woman fan backstage. There were also photographs of him recording “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel”, reading fan mail, eating alone, staring out of a train window, playing a piano in an empty studio and walking by himself on a deserted New York street – these latter depicting a solitude that was later surrendered to fame and mobs of fans.

Wertheimer had humble beginnings. His family fled Hitler’s Germany when he was  six and settled in Brooklyn, where his father was a butcher. As a boy he received his first camera from his brother and became fascinated with photography.

 

Elvis Presley (ELPR001ALWE)

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley taking a nap in July 1956 on the Southern Railroad between Chattanooga, heading towards Memphis, Tennessee, his home.

Prices from £2,000.00
print
Elvis Presley (ELPR002ALWE)

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley combing his hair in the men's room in the Mosque Theatre, Richmond, Virginia in June 1956

Prices from £2,000.00
print

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Angus Young, from AC/DC, captured in a small street outside a press meeting in Copenhagen in 1977

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Billy Idol with Ziggy Stardust flash makeup. New Wave just wouldn’t have been New Wave without Billy to pave the way through the 1980’s.

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Madness (MA001JF)

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This shoot of Madness in New York City in February 1980 was for Issue No.1 of a new magazine that developed cult status, The Face.

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Taken during the Oasis 'Definitely Maybe' Tour in Detroit, USA in 1995

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David Bowie wearing a two piece quilted suit designed by Freddie Burretti for the 1972 Ziggy Stardust tour.

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Pink Floyd (PF021JF)

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Roger and Nick on a train to Edinburgh, Dark Side of The Moon tour 1974. The band preferred to travel by train rather than bus or plane.

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