When Alfred Wertheimer received the assignment by the record company RCA to photograph the young Elvis Presley in 1956, he had no idea who this musician was.
The german-born photographer was 26, Elvis only 21. Elvis had landed his first Number-One-Hit in the Billboard-Single-Charts with "Heartbreak Hotel", and Wertheimer was supposed to document TV-appearances and rehearsals.
"I could feel on my first day with Elvis that this guy had the potential to cause a great uproar." says Wertheimer of the prospective "King of Rock'n'Roll".
Elvis-fans and lovers of first-class photography can call themselves lucky that the assignment was a success: Wertheimer managed to create a brilliant document of the rise of the greatest Rock-idol of all times: he shows the 21 year-old on- and off-stage, in the studio, bare-chested in the washing-room, or flirting with a waitress. Wertheimer had unlimited access to the exceptionally photogenic young Elvis. The result is a collection of exceptional, pure black and white shots: Elvis Presley should never again be depicted this happy, unprejudiced, naïve and erotic as on Wertheimer's pictures. Some of these have long achieved the status of classics - like the famous picture of Elvis on his Harley.
The Flo Peters Gallery in Hamburg is presenting 40 selected prints for the first time in Germany. Apart from the Elvis pictures, the gallery is showing 100 more great portraits of musicians, for example by Jonathan Mannion, currently the most successful photographer of the US-Rap-scene, Harry Benson, who made himself a name with portraits of the Beatles, Frank Stefanko, Danny Clinch, Herb Snitzer, Don Schlitten, William Gottlieb and Alan Tannenbaum. Exhibition dates: 4 Oct to 17 November 2007.