We found out about the book “Like It Was Yesterday” by Brad Elterman and had to know the story behind it. After all, how couldn’t you be totally intrigued by a book of avant-garde celebrity and party photos from the ’70s? Aside from being a great photographer with some wonderfully candid photos of celebs, Elterman was an original teenage paparazzo and the story of his start is a great one.
Why do you do what you do, and where do you find inspiration?
Besides taking photos of Pop Culture once again after a two decade silence, I also co own Buzz Foto, a paparazzi photo agency. I find my inspiration walking the streets of New York. The rhythm of the city and the faces of people from all walks of life is mesmerizing. I love studying the works of Helen Levitt. She really knew how to capture a moment.
What was your favorite book as a child?
The Marvelous Inventions Of Alvin Fernald
How did you get your start in paparazzi photography?
In 1975 I asked David Bowie’s publicist if I could photograph David and I was turned down. I was all of about 17 years old with plenty of drive and nothing was going to stop me. I found out where Bowie was recording and I waited for him all night. He emerged around 6 am and I took a photo of him leaving in his dirty Mercedes. He had a cigarette dangling from his face and looked totally cool. The photograph ran as a full page in Creem Magazine with a photo credit. I pocketed $35 for that photo and I was on my way!
What was your favorite part of the bookmaking process?
The best part for me was all of these memories coming back alive again. The photographs had been sitting in storage boxes for years. Once I began the editing process, the visions of all the orgies of parties and beautiful girls of my youth began to re-bloom. I worked with a very talented and incredibly enthusiastic graphic designer, Garland Lyn who really made the book come together. I gave Garland very simple instructions and that was to keep it simple and elegant.
The initial design was done two years ago and another friend, Hermann Lederle more recently added additional pages. Hermann had recently published one of his art books with Blurb and he knew the entire process.
If you could bestow one bookmaking tip on the world, what would it be?
Make it passionate, but most importantly, just do it.
For those of you who would like to check out Elterman’s work in person, Equator Books in Venice, CA will be hosting an exhibition of images included in the book. Opening Reception is May 9th from 7-11 pm.