Boogie Nights at Brad's House
Brad Elterman's first photograph at the age of 16, of Bob Dylan performing on stage, started a life long love affair with photography. His images captured the last gasp of a bygone era of rock n' roll – the 1970s – the days when glamour was rare and pure and stars were stars because they were elusive and unattainable. His classic images of Joan Jett hanging out in motels and flipping off the camera, David Bowie coming out of his studio, Playboy Playmates hanging out in his Hollywood apartment pool, and more, capture moments in a snapshot style instantly recognizable as Elterman's own. And his photographs were published in every major magazine. Then he gave it all up. For three decades Elterman laid low. Over the last few years Elterman started to reemerge: he started a blog that archived his oeuvre, but also documents new moments, in 2011 he published a coffee table book called Like It Was Yesterday, and he has been having gallery shows across the world including his latest show Factory 77 in Los Angeles which opened a couple of days ago and will be open all summer. I got a chance to ask the very busy Brad Elterman a few questions about photography, Los Angeles, and some current projects he has been working on including including a new website that showcases his photographs from the 1970s and pop culture today, but is also a platform for new photographers.
Joan Jett Flipping Off The Camera
PAS UN AUTRE: Can you remember the moment you knew you wanted to become a photographer - can you remember the first image you ever printed?
BRAD ELTERMAN: My first image ever printed was a performance photograph of Bob Dylan on stage in 1976. It was also probably the instant that I told myself that I would like to make a career out of this.
AUTRE: Who were some of your biggest inspirations - not just photographers?
ELTERMAN: Helmut Newton, Ron Galella, Richard Creamer all photographers of course. My mom was my greatest inspiration. She was a painter and she thought me to create my own style. She was so supportive as long as I was happy.
AUTRE: Who was your favorite subject to photograph?
ELTERMAN: Probably Joan Jett. She always has style and so cool to hang with and of course to photograph. Talent and style, you just can't beat that.
AUTRE: What was your impression of Los Angeles then (1970s) and now?
ELTERMAN: I loved L.A. during the 70's, but I did not know the rest of the world. Since traveling the world now, I still always come back to Los Angeles. The weather, the light, and all the characters. It really is one of the most creative and comfortable cities in the world. Not the culture of Pairs and New York, but you can n't have everything.
AUTRE: What are some of your thoughts as you look through the view finder?
ELTERMAN: It's hard to believe that I am taking photos again after a more than two decade break. During my silence, there was nothing to photograph and the internet did not exist. So when I look though the view finder I am sort of in disbelieve. It's a fun feeling and I like it.
Duran Duran At The Riot House
AUTRE: What is Factory 77 and what can we expect from your current show?
ELTERMAN: Factory 77 just launched. It's my 70's photos, my new photographs of pop culture today and most importantly it is a showcase for all of the amazing young photo talent out there today. I have met so many talented photographers via the internet and I enjoy sharing stories with them. Erica Lauren, a Los Angeles based photographer is the editor and I will photo edit. We would love to showcase young rock bands who embrace the internet for exposure. No performance photos. I want the pictures to be raw and captivating. It will be great fun.
AUTRE: Most exciting plans for the future?
ELTERMAN: I am part of Vogue Italia's Photo Vogue this summer at 10 Corso Como in Milan. It is an exhibition from 101 photographers. The collection is amazing and there is some incredible talent. My photo is entitled "Valley Chicks" and I took it back in 1977 on a roll of black and white film. My Factory 77 exhibition photographs at Kana Manglapus Projects, Venice is up all summer and I plan on spending time at the gallery. It's going to be a cool summer.