"Over 10 days Wertheimer shot what are now some of the most iconic images of the man who would be king. It's said that no other photographer was ever given this type of access and it led to intimate and unvarnished images of Presley..."
"You might think it's an exercise in futility to find a new angle to justify yet another book on the life and career of Elvis Presley. However, the newly released volume Elvis 1956
is in many ways the most exciting and intimate portrait of the legendary entertainer
I've been exposed to. Photographer Alfred Wertheimer was asked by RCA Victor to accompany young Elvis for a one day assignment when the King was just on the cusp of major stardom. What transpired was a mind-boggling array of photographs that capture Elvis in his most private moments. Elvis invited Wertheimer to accompany him later in the year and the photographer continued to capture outstanding photos from a period when Presley was still very accessible and still very much his own man. Once Colonel Parker became to exercise dictatorial control over his every move, Elvis became unable or unwilling to control many aspects of his own destiny.
Wertheimer's photos are as haunting as they are fascinating. He captures the King on the sidewalks of New York, in some cases mobbed by young fans, in other cases able to stroll unrecognized down the streets. He could still stop into a coffee shop without drawing attention. Wertheimer captures especially intimate photos of the King trying to seduce a comely and willing young woman in the corridor of his hotel. So intent on making out with his obvious conquest-in-waiting, Elvis allowed Wertheimer to photograph the seduction from a distance. In other shots, Elvis sits on his tour bus finding small pleasure in reading an Archie comic book, drawing huge crowds of swarming young girls (both black and white), and casually getting off a train so he could make a long walk across fields to his home town.Wertheimer's text is sparing- he lets his photos do the talking, but his observations are never less than fascinating. You don't have to be an Elvis fanatic to recognize the importance of this book. It sheds significant light on the early days of one of the true legends of show business."
"A phenomena that took the world by storm, Elvis 1956 is a book of photography
and history about the year where rock and roll became a national pastime as
Elvis Presley released his first record and the world was never the same
again. With never before released photos, this history of the first year of
rock and roll superstardom is quite a treat for anyone who still hails to
the king. Elvis 1956 is an ideal coffee table book for fans, highly
"To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley's birthday, Elvis at 21
— a nationally traveling exhibition — will open at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on January 8, and will be on view through March 28, 2010. The
exhibition is accompanied by the book, Elvis: 1956
with photographs by Alfred Wertheimer. The exhibition and the book are
loaded with photographs of Elvis — all were taken during the year Elvis
turned 21, and are a visual record of a defining time for the king of
— one of the most exciting performers of our time.
Wertheimer's photographs show Elvis in every aspect of his life — in
performance, with his fans, in the recording studio, and at home with his
family. The book is lavishly illustrated with 72 tri-tone photographs, and
features an introduction by curator Chris Murray, along with essays by E.
Warren Perry, Jr. and National Portrait Gallery historian Amy Henderson."
"The photographs in this collection reflect a shared innocence, vibrancy,
"Remarkable... The times, they were a-changing, and changing quickly. Elvis
and his music were both a part of and a cause of that change. Collectively,
Wertheimer's photos capture that time as if the photographer and his subject
knew that the moment would not last.
Elvis 1956 will appeal to a broad segment of readers, including those who
still carry a torch for Elvis, those interested in photography, and those
with an interest in 1950s' America." (link)
"Elvis was one of the most satisfying exhibitions I've done because of the creative collaborations that shaped it, and the drop-dead gorgeous book,
Elvis 1956, that accompanies it, published by Welcome Books." (link)
"Wertheimer was able to capture what would be off limits in the years to come. Elvis in repose, Elvis preparing for an appearance or simply Elvis walking down the street as yet unrecognized are amongst the subjects of Wertheimer's work...
hundreds of photographs that would become a part of history in their own right. Never again would anyone have the same degree of inside access once the icon climbed to superstar status.
"Elvis 1956 will serve as a reminder of a more innocent time in the life of a man who still looms larger than life to this day."
"Offers rare, intimate, candid photos as he shot to stardom"