On His 75th, Elvis At 21 : The Picture Show In 1956, Alfred Wertheimer had the unique opportunity to photograph Elvis, just as the young musician was gaining popularity. His photos are in a new book and traveling exhibition.

On His 75th, Elvis At 21

It's weird to think of Elvis as a 75-year-old man. In my mind — in most people's minds — he'll always be in his 20s. That's due, in part, to the iconic images taken by photographers like Alfred Wertheimer.

Wertheimer had the unique opportunity to photograph Elvis in 1956, back when the young musician was quickly gaining popularity, when Tennessee lunch counters were still segregated, when America was still getting acquainted with the sound of rock. Hired by RCA Victor, Presley's new label, Wertheimer had access that would never again be equaled — onstage, at home and in transit with Elvis, who was only 21 at the time.

On the 75th anniversary of The King's birthday, Wertheimer's photographs have been compiled in a new book, Elvis 1956. It's the exhibition catalog for a traveling Smithsonian show called Elvis at 21, opening tomorrow at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, and at The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., later this year.

And if you haven't had enough Elvis yet, another cool exhibition opens in D.C. tomorrow. "Echoes of Elvis" examines the pervasive face of Elvis in art and pop culture. Andy Warhol immortalized him and William Eggleston photographed his home. Where have you seen the face of Elvis? Upload your photo to our Flickr pool.

Untitled (Elvis and Priscilla), from the portfolio Graceland by William Eggleston (Eggleston Artistic Trust and Cheim & Reid, New York / Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum) hide caption

toggle caption

Have an idea? Pitch it!

The Picture Show on Facebook or on Twitter