Brad Elterman, The One-Man Factory
Don’t call him a paparazzo, but photographer Brad Elterman (pictured, above) pioneered celebrity photography, capturing rare moments in the lives of music and fashion icons like David Bowie, Joan Jett, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono from a very young age. “They thought the camera was a novelty,” Elterman, now 55, tells WWD. “Today, everyone is armed with an iPhone and can beam a picture around the world, but this was an age before PR and management controlled the imagery.”
Tomorrow, Elterman (who founded one of the first L.A. photo agencies specializing in celebrity photography, California Features International Inc.) is set to debut a series of his works, some of which have never been printed, at the Kana Manglapus Projects in Venice Beach. In the exhibition, titled Factory 77, there are behind-the-scenes images of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Madonna, Cherrie Currie, Jett, and more. “Joan and I would eat huge burgers at a coffee shop called Duke’s and play softball in the Valley,” Elterman, whose first published photo was in 1974 of the legendary Bob Dylan, says. Elterman is still in the game today, shooting for publications like Purple and running his photo agency Buzz Photo, and he will soon launch a blog, under the same name as the show, with more of his archival shots. Here, a look at some of the rare images on display in the exhibition.