The King and I: rare Elvis photos to go on display at Ophir Tavern

THE KING: Elvis exhibition curator Adam Nicholson with a photo of Elvis aboard Frank Sinatra's private jet. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA 0714drelvis3

THE KING: Elvis exhibition curator Adam Nicholson with a photo of Elvis aboard Frank Sinatra's private jet. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA 0714drelvis3

Elvis Presley and music fans alike will have a chance for unique look into the life of the King of Rock and Roll next month.

The Ophir Tavern is hosting an exhibition of 170 photos taken by Elvis’s personal photographer, Ed Bonja.

The collection is curated by Adam Nicholson, who runs the Ophir Tavern.

The opening of the exhibition – which will coincide with the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death –will be the first time in five years the collection has been displayed publicly.

Mr Nicholson said some of the iconic images of the king were familiar to many fans, as Mr Bonja photographed Elvis from 1970 to 1977.

The photographs include hundreds of shots taken at concerts and in Elvis’s private life that were used for album covers.

“All the famous photos were taken by Ed. He was the only photographer permitted on stage,” Mr Nicholson said.

The exhibition is made up of original prints, including some photos which have rarely seen the light of day.

“One of the first Ed ever took was of Elvis on Frank Sinatra’s private jet that Elvis leased,” Mr Nicholson said.

“And the very last photo ever taken of Elvis on stage.

“You won’t see the photos in Graceland. It’s the largest collection of photos taken by one man of Elvis,” Mr Nicholson said.

He said the photos covered the years in Las Vegas and the jumpsuits, including the famous ‘American eagle’ suit worn during the Aloha from Hawaii concert.

You won’t see the photos in Graceland. It’s the largest collection of photos taken by one man of Elvis. - Exhibition curator Adam Nicholson

As well as the photos, an audio recording will talk people through the images.

Mr Nicholson met Mr Bonja when he sought him out to verify an album cover autographed by Elvis.

The memorabilia turned out to be fake but the relationship forged with the performer’s photographer has paid off for the publican.

Mr Nicholson initially encouraged Mr Bonja to exhibit his photos in Australia before eventually buying the collection himself.

“It was a bit of bad fortune that turned into good fortune,” Mr Nicholson said.

He said previous exhibitions had attracted famous Elvis fans from across the globe, including Noel Gallagher, Michael Buble and Bruce Springsteen.

The free exhibition will open on August 16 – the anniversary of Elvis’s death – until August 20, opening between midday and 2pm each day.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop