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Elvis Who?

June 25, 2012 | Book

On 1 September 2012, Taschen GmbH releases Alfred Wertheimer, Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll. A limited edition (1,500 copies) hardback with 300 pages, the retail price on Amazon UK is 435 pounds (US$678), while the Book Depository UK has it discounted from US$988 to $741 (and throws in free shipping worldwide!).

The new Wertheimer release is described by the publisher as: "Elvis who?" was photographer Al Wertheimer's response when, in early 1956, an RCA Victor publicist asked him to shoot an up-and-coming crooner from Memphis. Little did Wertheimer know that this would be the job of his life: just 21 years old, Elvis Presley was - as we now know - about to become a legend. Trailing him like a shadow, Wertheimer was given unlimited access to get up close and personal with Elvis; even as the singer was seducing young women in dark hallways, he allowed the photographer to record his every move. Wertheimer took nearly 3,000 photographs of Presley that year, creating a penetrating portrait of a man poised on the brink of superstardom. Extraordinary in its intimacy and unparalleled in its scope, Wertheimer's Elvis project immortalized a young man in the very process of making history. (Just a month after he shot Elvis recording the "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" record, it became the first ever to top all three Billboard charts.)

Limited to 1,500 numbered copies signed by Wertheimer, this Collector's Edition brings together his most remarkable Elvis shots from 1956, along with a selection from his historic pictures of the star in 1958 as he was being shipped off to an army base in Germany. Though many of Wertheimer's photos of Elvis are among the best known, nearly half of the photographs in this book have never been published before. Fans of photojournalism, portraiture, and, of course, the King himself will covet this collector's volume. ISBN 13: 9783836534239 ISBN 10: 3836534231  

Source:Elvis Information Network
Steve V wrote on June 25, 2012
Another very expensive book. If I wanted all these books , I would have to sell some of my prized Elvis records, EPE 1956 items and you cant get the money you used to anymore. The books are nice , but from what I see, they will plunge in value as fast as a new car. They will never retain the cost they are selling for. I see The Elvis Files on Ebay from time to time, and they never have bids on them.
Natha wrote on June 25, 2012
My thoughts too, Steve V. I rather listen to his music than seeing pictures (of which most are already around for so many years).
I am Buffalo-Horn! wrote on June 25, 2012
It will certainly be interesting to see how, or if, this sells. Likewise the $120.00 "Graphic Elvis Limited Collector's Hardcover" It looks as if expensive, large (but not all necessarily good) books are now the moneymakers for those pensioners who wish to make a quick buck whilst they can..
theoldscudder wrote on June 26, 2012
Who will but this? Who will pay the price? What a rip off. This even beats Paul L. for nerve.
sitdown revamped wrote on June 26, 2012
As an enthusiastic poto amateur I would be very intrested in unrealeased material of Wertheimer's Presley portfolio. but not at such a price. I guess the greatest pic photography wise we've seen is Elvis on Stage in Memphis, taken from the back of the stage while the other flah goes up in the audience. I once had Elvis '56, one of the first books that hit the shelves. If it wasn't Elvis, you could get it at USD 100.00/unit. Therefore I'd rather get me "looking inside" by compatriot Robert Frank. It is, let's say, the "FTD" release with outtakes of his epic work "The Americans" taken at about the same time 55-56 as Wertheimer was shooting his timeless portfolio. Too bad, to much buck for photography. But every buyer surely will get outstanding photography of a legend in the making...;-) Too bad it is so expensive! Maybe I'd go for it at a sixth of the price, as the human being is one thing, the image is another...to re-use Presley's statement the other way round geared towards photography. So I just hope they gonna come up with an affordable soft cover version next time ;-) But cheers to you, if you buy it. You surely gonna get stunning photography for your money! Cheers, Pedro.
benny scott wrote on June 26, 2012
If these announced retailprices are true then this is complete madness and too ridiculous for words. On the other hand I don't know where the "source EIN " got this (price) info . I checked Amazon UK, Books Department and checked also The Book Depository UK . There is no trace of the book at all on those sites. Did I miss something ? Always El.
I am Buffalo-Horn! wrote on June 26, 2012
Benny, it definitely is on the UK Amazon site, for £450.00, due September. Even if the price is later reduced by a couple of hundred pounds this is still far too pricey. I too would like to see the unreleased shots, but the price of these sort of books is just ridiculous. The current ones being literally pumped out from Norway or Denmark etc are classic examples. They are being rushed out, with lots of grammatical & punctuation errors, and also the quality of the photos for such expensive books is not all it could be. There are many examples of poor colour printing & lack of attention to detail. A current example is the quality of the colour plates in the back of the "Jailhouse Rock" book, which are a disappointment. Also the cover of the current Elvis Files Vol 5 is colourless. It's an easy job to increase the saturation of selected colours. It'a a nice shot & deserves to be presented better. Plus inside some photos are stretched to fill the space & geometrically distorted. Todd Slaughter got a lot of criticism for doing the same in the initial copies of his new-style Fan Club Mag, which is now fine, but you do not expect it in a series of very expensive books. We do notice these things, so slow down, improve the quality & give us value for money.
benny scott wrote on June 26, 2012
Hi Buffalo-Horn, thanks for reacting . Absolutely agreed about the quality that could be much better, taking into account the price(s) asked by the sellers. If it's not too much trouble for you, could you pls let me know under what department of Amazon UK the book is announced ?( I still can't find it in the "Books Department, and that's where it should be I think) Thanks in advance ! Always El.
little jimmy tompkin wrote on June 27, 2012
I think we've seen all the best Wertheimer shots in books that are far far cheaper. If there are any better photos in the new book surely we would have seen them already - I'll buy it when it reduces to £14.99 !
dgirl wrote on June 27, 2012
Without a doubt some of the most iconic photos ever taken, but let's face it, this guy has been riding the milk train since Aug 16th 1977. Books (many of them), calendars, candy tins, countless other items. When does he have enough? I think this is a tastless lure (some unreleased photos?) of yet getting fans to again shell out for his product. Actually the whole Elvis world is this way isn't it?
Bestoftherest8301 wrote on June 30, 2012
I'll wait for the paperback version