Alfred Wertheimer was born in Germany in 1930, came to America and settled in Brooklyn as a young boy. He took an early interest in architecture and design, which led him to Cooper Union, from which he graduated in 1951. In the spring of 1956, a series of commercial assignments for RCA Records led to a shoot of a newly signed singer named Elvis Presley. Instantly impressed, Wertheimer devoted four months of his own time to intensely shadow the young star. The result would be the most intimate and candid look at the future legend ever recorded.
Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs of Elvis Presley are a national treasure. They are a unique visual record of the most exciting and influential performer of our time. Taken 50 years ago, Wertheimer’s photographs document Elvis Presley at the pivotal moment of his explosive appearance onto the cultural landscape. After these photos were taken, no photographer ever again had access to Elvis that Wertheimer enjoyed. Apart from Elvis’s own recordings from this period, Wertheimer’s photographs are the most compelling vintage document of this musical artist in 1956.
Wertheimer had snapped over 400 photos of Elvis, nearly all of which caught casual off-stage moments.