Before Elvis there was nothing.
- John Lennon
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.
Elvis at 21 features over forty of these stunning and intimate black and white photographs. This exhibition also celebrates the publication of Elvis at 21: New York to Memphis (Insight Editions), with photographs and text by Alfred Wertheimer and edited by Chris Murray, owner and director of Govinda Gallery. Many previously unpublished photographs along with the author's personal recollections document the young man who invented the rock and roll persona as we know it and would become an enduring international cultural icon.
Since 1995, Murray has presented Wertheimer's work in several exhibitions, including his first major one-person exhibition in 1997 at Govinda Gallery and in the exhibition Artist to Icon: Early Photographs of Elvis, Dylan, and the Beatles organized in 2001 in conjunction with the Experience Music Project, Seattle.