Lunch Time, Sheffield, Alabama. Copyright © Alfred Wertheimer. All Rights Reserved.
Soon after graduating from Cooper Union’s School of Art in New York City in 1951, Alfred Wertheimer began his career as a photojournalist, publishing his work in such magazines as Life and Paris Match. When RCA Victor asked him to photograph the studio’s newest recording artist in 1956, Wertheimer turned the publicity assignment into a unique opportunity to document Elvis Presley. With the sensibility of a reporter and the imagination of a visual artist, Wertheimer observed his subject and environment as no photographer had done before or after.
Wertheimer’s photographs of Elvis are a national treasure, and stand as a unique visual record of one of the most exciting and influential performers of all time. Taken in 1956, Wertheimer’s photographs document Elvis at the defining moment of his explosive emergence onto the cultural landscape. After these photos were taken, no photographer ever again had the access to Elvis that Wertheimer enjoyed. Apart from Elvis’ own recordings from this period, Wertheimer’s photographs are the most compelling vintage document of Elvis in 1956.
Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.
Elvis at 21: New York to Memphis (Insight Editions, 2006), and Elvis 1956: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer (Welcome Books, 2009).