Is there any more beautiful specimen of American beauty than Elvis Presley at 21? Those lips, those sleepy eyes, that hair, that pout, the sneer and the smile. Elvis Presley is male beauty personified.
The Grammy Museum just announced an upcoming exhibit of photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer's iconic images of the King called Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer, which opens on January 7. That day, Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli will interview the photographer about shooting Presley. The exhibit's curator, Chris Murray, will also join the conversation.
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Wertheimer captured some of the most timeless and penetrating photographs of the young Elvis in 1956, when he was at the peak of his powers, before the army, the Hawaiian shirts, the amphetamines, the leather pantsuits that gave way to polyester, jewel encrusted monstrosities, the barbituates. He was quite the hunk.
One of the best shots is used on the cover of the definitive Elvis biography, Last Train to Memphis. On the cover of the first of the two volume series by Peter Guralnick, is a photo of Presley sitting at a piano. The shot shows a musician lost inside sound. The photographer caught Elvis in quiet moments, in thrilling onstage moments, in romantic poses with women. This should be a beautiful show for not only fans of Elvis, but fans of portrait photography, beauty, fashion and rock & roll.