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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.

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Elvis Presley (ELPR002ALWE)

Elvis Presley

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

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Rolling Stones, The (RS001DH)

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Keith Richards performing with The Rolling Stones onstage at the Feyenoordstadion Rotterdam, Holland in August 2003

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Led Zeppelin performing at Madison Square Garden, New York, USA 1977.

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Contact sheet of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers photographed at Hyde Park, London in 1991

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John Prime backstage at The Station Inn, Nashville before performing with Jimmy Rooney's Irregulars in 2019.

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Blondie, Debbie Harry in London, 1977 Photo | Fine Art Print by Sheila Rock

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Rolling Stones, The

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Amy Winehouse onstage at the V Festival in 2008, photograph taken by photographer Mark Mawston

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Oasis was an English rock music band formed in Manchester in 1991, to date the band has sold over 70 million records worldwide.

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