Alfred Wertheimer: Elvis Leaves for Memphis, 1956
Silver gelatin print
Paper size: 9 x 14 in. (printed off-center)
Signed, titled and dated in pencil with studio stamps (dated 1979) on verso, with gift inscription* dated 1992 plus additional pencil notations.
*Gifted by the photographer to a well-known photo editor who would prefer to remain anonymous.
The new definition of iconic? This image is included in the Smithsonian Institution's national traveling exhibition, Elvis at 21, Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer, which has its very own Facebook page, Twitter feed and blog. What is the sound of 2,686 'likes' screaming?.
From the Smithsonian site:
"Art is about choices," says music critic Peter Guralnick, one of the exhibition's contributors. A photographer chooses to be engaged by a subject and that subject chooses to let his guard down. Al Wertheimer chose to capture 21-year-old Elvis Presley on the threshold of super stardom not because he was a fan, but because he was a student of human nature, because he was curious and because, like Elvis, he could be swept up by the purity of experience. That unscripted eloquence resulted in photographs so unique that they remind us why Elvis matters.
"What is so remarkable about Wertheimer’s documentary portraits of Elvis is how fresh and contemporary the pictures still seem, utterly unlike any other portraits of this endlessly scrutinized figure."
Faint short crease, visible in raking light, upper left margin; flaw in negative visible lower right