Are you aware of this book? It was announced April 8 on Elvis.com as “A Photography Book by Christopher Ameruoso and Priscilla Presley. I clicked on the link to see what it was all about, and immediately became impressed with how cool this idea is.
Although his name was not familiar to me, Christopher Ameruoso is in fact a well-respected photographer whose subjects have included many entertainment celebrities. His first contact with Priscilla occurred in 2011 when he was commissioned to take a photograph of her and the five dogs she had rescued. Here is a page on Amerouso’s website in the Stars and Pets section.
Priscilla wrote the Forward to Shades of Elvis, and she says:
“Looking back on this project, I should have known Christopher Ameruoso and I were destined to be close friends. We met after he photographed me for a national magazine, and I liked him immediately and was deeply impressed by his creative spirit and aesthetic. I was also impressed with his no-nonsense approach.
“… It wasn’t long after our friendship began that Chris approached me with an idea. I usually shy away from hearing pitches – everybody seems to have one — but I felt different with Christopher… I’m happy I listened.”
So what was this concept Priscilla liked so much? The book’s title, Shades of Elvis, gives a clue.
“The idea was to photograph (in classic black-and-white portraiture) artists, icons, and legends while they were wearing Elvis’ original sunglasses, which came from the Memphis archives.
“Even more than that, we wanted to provide the book’s famous subjects with a brief glimpse of the world the way Elvis saw it, through those shades, and then have them share what came to mind.”
I love this idea. I might prefer they were color photographs. However, all those famous Elvis pictures Alfred Wertheimer took were black-and-white, and the results were spectacular, so maybe this will be more of the same.
Talent featured in Shades of Elvis include:
Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, Billy Gibbons( ZZ-Top), Billy Ray Cyrus, Bo Derek, Buzz Aldrin, Carmen Electra, Celine Dion, Charlie Sheen, Cher, Chuck Garric, David Arquette, David Copperfield, Def Leppard, Eddie Van Halen, Elton John, Elvira, Fran Dresher, Frances Fisher, Gene Simmons, Helen Mirren, Henry Winkler, Holly Madison, Jaclyn Smith, James Tupper, Jillian Michaels, Joe Mantegna, John Corbet, John Stamos, Johnny Depp, Jose Feliciano, Juliette Lewis, Ken Howard, Katherine Ross, Kevin Sorbo, Larry Flynt, Lionel Richie, Lita Ford, Mac Davis Martin Sheen, Meat Loaf, Michael Bubble, Michael Des Barres, Michael Madsen, Mike Tyson, Orianthi, Ozzy Osbourne, Pamela Anderson, Peter Fonda, Rick Springfield, Rob Lowe, Robert Plant, Ron Pearlman, Ronn Moss, Peter Beckett, Rudy Sarzo, Sam Elliott, Sammy Hagar, Scotty McCreery, Shawnee Smith, Snoop Dogg, Stan Lee, Steven Tyler, Steve Perry, Steve Valentine, Taryn Manning, Ted Neeley, Thomas Gibson, Tim Burton, Tom Jones, Tony Hawk, Valerie Bertinelli, Virginia Madsen, Weird Al, Willie Nelson and more.
Personally, I would be most interested to see the photos of Steven Tyler, Elton John, and Elvira.
Steven Tyler is the epitome of modern-day rockers, and I’ll bet Elvis’ shades look perfect on him.
Elton John has worn glasses and sunglasses of every conceivable style, but Elvis’ shades would be a completely new look.
Any picture of Elvira is striking, but one wearing Elvis’ shades would be a gas. Plus, she is probably the only celebrity in the book who had an up-close and personal experience with Elvis, so it would be interesting to see what she says in the quote accompanying her photo.
Speaking of photographs, check out this one of Christopher Ameruoso on the book’s From the Author /Acknowledgements page:
Notice he is holding the Elvis sunglasses in his hand and is staring intently at them. My first thought when I saw it was how similar it is to this:
Probably just a coincidence.
The link from Elvis.com takes you to www.shadesofelvis.net. If you might be interested in buying the book, you will want to watch the two videos on the home page. You will also notice that there is a 20% discount off the regular price if you order before April 30. Then click on the “Order Book” link, and you might get a bit of a shock – the price is $111.95. This is a huge (12” x 12”) coffee-table book, but that’s a big ticket.
It is tempting to show a few of the celebrity photographs from the book, but that’s probably not a good idea. However, there is an advertisement showing two of them wearing the Elvis shades.
You can find a few more of the photos on the Shades of Elvis Facebook page.
In conclusion, I think Christopher Ameruoso and Priscilla have come up with an outstanding concept, and I’m sure Shades of Elvis is a very professional expression of it. My only request is that they someday publish a smaller, soft-cover, more affordable version for us average Elvis fans. I’ll bet they would sell lots of them.
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