Photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer was hired by RCA Victor in 1956 to shoot promotional images of a recently signed 21-year-old recording artist, Elvis Presley. Wertheimer's instincts to 'tag along' with the artist after the assignment and the resulting images provide us today with a candid look at Elvis before he exploded onto the scene and became one of the most exciting performers of his time.
The 56 black and white digital pigment prints, produced by certified Tamarind master printer David Adamson, give Wertheimer’s unique visual record a cinematic power that makes Elvis’ road to fame palpable.
'Henri Cartier-Bresson was known for his decisive moments, that one instant when everything falls into place. But I wanted to be known for the moment before or after the decisive moment…'
Alfred Wertheimer Elvis a King in the Making, p 21.
Elvis at 21, Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer was developed collaboratively by the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and Govinda Gallery, and is sponsored by HISTORY.
Collection display galleries
The collection display includes a wide selection of portraits that tell extraordinary stories of encounter, exploration, independence, individuality and achievement in Australia. Visitors to the Gallery can follow the development of portraiture from oil painting to digital media.Entry is free.
Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award
The Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award is an annual event intended to extend traditional notions of portraiture and reflects the National Portrait Gallery's commitment to fostering emerging artists with an interest in contemporary technology.
Richard Avedon People
American photographer Richard Avedon produced portrait photographs that defined the twentieth century. Developed in partnership with the Richard Avedon Foundation in New York, the first Australian exhibition of Avedon’s bold portraits reveals the glamour and drama of his iconic artistic work.