60th anniversary today of Alfred Wertheimer first photographing Elvis Presley, March 17, 1956 in New York City

by Chris Murray on March 16, 2016

image2RCA’s Pop Record Division publicist Ann Fulchino greeting Elvis March 17, 1956 with a William Morris agent looking on. Studio 50, New York City. © Estate of Alfred Wertheimer

It was 60 years ago today that Alfred Wertheimer first photographed Elvis Presley. Alfred had been doing some freelance work for RCA’s Pop Record Division and had photographed musical artists such as Lena Horne, Perry Como, Toscanini, Tony Bennett, and others. The publicist at RCA’s Pop Record Division, Ann Fulchino, called Alfred to photograph their new talent Elvis Presley. After a long silence Alfred said “Elvis who?”

Alfred Wertheimer went on to compile the single most important photographic document on the greatest pop star of all time. After taking a few press shots for RCA he asked Elvis if he would mind if he “tagged along.” The rest is photographic history.

The first photographs Alfred Wertheimer took of Elvis were in a dressing room at Studio 50 where Elvis was talking to a jewelry salesman and buying a ring. Here are a few of those first photos taken on that St. Patrick’s Day, 1956 in New York City.

image1© Estate of Alfred Wertheimer

On this occasion I am delighted to announce the first exhibition of Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs of Elvis Presley since Alfred passed away in October 2014. The exhibition will be at the Telfair Museum in Savannah, GA opening April 22-October 2, 2016. The Telfair is a beautiful museum in the heart of Savannah. The exhibition will be installed in the Varnedoe Galleries, named after the legendary curator of painting and sculptor at the Museum of Modern Art, Kirk Varnedoe, who was from Savannah.

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