I Was a Teenage Paparazzo: The Photos of Brad Elterman

As a young photographer coming of age in the San Fernando Valley, Brad Elterman borrowed his parents’ car to drive over the hill into Hollywood, where he witnessed 1970s rock history in the making. “My timing was perfect,” he recalls. “The apex was between 1975-1980 and there I was, a teenager, hanging out with my pals the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Debbie Harry, and Joan Jett on the Sunset Strip. Luckily, I had a camera hanging around my neck.” Luckily for us, Elterman captured many rare, candid moments, like a picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono chatting with Ringo Starr outside the Rainbow Bar and Grill, not long before Lennon’s death in 1980. Then there’s the photo of David Bowie outside the Cherokee Recording Studio, where a teenage Elterman camped out at 6am one morning in 1975, just to get a picture of the rock icon at work. “It’s that raw and un-posed photo of Bowie that is coveted by collectors and curators today, not a photo of him performing onstage,” observes Elterman. And he’s right — his unusual perspective comes from the fact that he was a young fan with a passion, not a professional photographer with an all-access pass. Nowadays, though, his photographs are finally getting the valuable recognition they deserve. See Brad Elterman’s exhibition Factory 77 at Kana Manglapus in Venice. If you’re not in the Los Angeles area, don’t worry — we have a few snapshots for you right here.


“The Ramones on Sunset Boulevard, 1978” (© Brad Elterman)


“Ali and the Sea of Faces” (© Brad Elterman)


“Joan Jett Flips Me the Finger” (© Brad Elterman)


“Debbie Harry, Early Visits to Los Angeles” (© Brad Elterman)


“Duran at the Riot House” (© Brad Elterman)


“Behind the Beverly Hills Hotel” (© Brad Elterman)


“Bob Dylan: The Car Shot” (© Brad Elterman)


“Michael Jackson at Chasen’s” (© Brad Elterman)


“All the Right Ingredients for a Sellable Photograph” (© Brad Elterman)


“Madonna Meets the Press” (© Brad Elterman)


“The Key to On the Rox” (© Brad Elterman)


“I Was a Teenage Paparazzo” (© Brad Elterman)

(all photos courtesy Brad Elterman and Kana Manglapus Projects)

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