Henry Leutwyler: Elvis Presley’s TV with a bullet hole in it

Why Henry Leutwyler’s photographs are so extraordinary

Photo: Henry Leutwyler
Words: Florian Obkircher

The New York-based lensman tells us about his idols from the last century, with very particular photographs of their possessions

Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Michael Jackson’s dancing shoes, Elvis Presley’s TV with a bullet hole in it…

Twelve years ago, Swiss celebrity photographer Henry Leutwyler decided to track down everyday objects that had belonged to his idols and photograph them. He has now brought together 124 of these in his book, Document.

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THE RED BULLETIN: You became famous thanks to your portraits of the stars. Why did start photographing their belongings?

HENRY LEUTWYLER: Because objects often say more about their owners than photos do.

How do you mean?

These days, magazine portraits are enormously retouched. When it came to the objects in the book, I set about my work with the sober-mindedness of a photographer at a crime scene: I took the photos from above. They are harsh, undoctored images. 

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How do you come across objects like Elvis’s TV set?

The King’s family invited me to Memphis to take pictures of his legacy for the book, Elvis By The Presleys

What’s the story behind the bullet hole?

Elvis was a gun fanatic… but clearly not a fan of TV news. 

“ELVIS was not a fan of TV news”
Henry Leutwyler | photographer
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05 2017 The Red Bulletin

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