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Elvis 1956
Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer
128 pages, 8 1/4" x 10 1/2"
72 tritone photographs
Hardcover, $29.95 ($37.00 CAN)
ISBN 978-1-59962-073-2
November 2009 publication

Click here to read an article about the extraordinary 4-year, 14-city tour of Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer, by Govinda Gallery Director Chris Murray.


In 1956, a twenty-one-year-old Elvis Presley was at the beginning of his remarkable and unparalleled career. Photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer was asked by Presley's new label, RCA Victor, to photograph the rising star for a one-day assignment that quickly developed into an odyssey. With unimpeded access to the young performer, Wertheimer was able to capture the unguarded and everyday moments in Elvis' life during March and July of that year, the pivotal year that made Elvis' career—taking him from virtual obscurity to the verge of international stardom and his crowning as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll."

Wertheimer's unobtrusive photographs of Elvis in performance, with his fans, in the recording studio, and at home with his family present a unique look at one of the world's most famous cultural figures. These images represent the first and the last unguarded look at Elvis, and are an extraordinary portrait of a charismatic young man who would go on to become a legend.

Published as the catalogue for the exhibition Elvis at 21, developed collaboratively by the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and Govinda Gallery, and sponsored nationally by The History Channel. The national tour launched at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on January 8, 2010 and over the last few years has appeared at museums across the country, including The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. It will open March 4, 2013 at The Schumacher Gallery at Capital University in Columbus, OH and on May 18, 2013 at Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, in Fort Worth, TX.