Fans were enthusiastic. In fact, I met more than a few lifelong Elvis followers who made the pilgrimmage to the National Portrait Gallery, well, because they had to. Call it a new right of passage for any Elvis fan, to see these larger-than-life images of the King of Rock 'n' Roll printed from the original 1956 negatives. Sara Higgins of Virginia is one such fan. We asked her to do a review of the exhibition and riff a little on her fascination with Elvis:
"I have admired Alfred Wertheimer’s collection since my childhood, when I taped copies of the photos to my bedroom walls. Today as an adult, the images hang in my cubicle, and okay, still in my bedroom. The best way to describe the photographs is that Mr. Wertheimer has captured forever an Elvis that radiated raw self-confidence and utter sexuality--in a time before he personified those very characteristics to millions of fans worldwide. Needless to say, I have been anticipating the Elvis at 21 exhibit for quite some time and was left almost speechless by the prints. (Amazing, really. Anyone who knows me will say that I always have something to say when it comes to Elvis.)
In this beautifully constructed exhibit, you can’t help but feel the excitement and the passion and that electricity which only Elvis Presley can generate. Wonderful details make themselves known: the argyle socks that Elvis is wearing when reading fan mail seem to be worn inside-out when riding the train back home to Memphis; the baggy pants emphasizing those famous hips as he walks down a hallway; his perfectly displaced and not-yet-imitated hair when performing. And then that look that Elvis occasionally gives directly to Alfred’s camera will stop you in your tracks."
--Sara Higgins, exhibition visitor
We'll be posting more personal perspectives throughout the exhibition tour. Thanks to Sara for taking the time to be this month's guest blogger!
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