Brad Elterman

Brad Elterman

It's been a busy week for Milk Studios, having just celebrated the launch of The School of Fashion a few days ago only to be followed by last night's opening of photographer Brad Elterman's latest exhibit.  A juxtaposition to the pink champagne and stilettos of last week, I walked into a crowd of leather jackets and beer (which was totally expected given the subject matter).  

Accompanying Elterman's book of the same name, Dog Dance is pure pop-culture nostalgia.  The exhibit features Elterman's collection of photos from his days hanging with rock stars in the '70s-'80s, from Bob Dylan and the Ramones to Debbie Harry and Michael Jackson.  At the time, Elterman was a young kid with access and a camera, which he managed to successfully parlay into becoming one of the biggest rock photographers of the time. 

I watched Elterman chat with pals like Olivier Zahm and sign copies of his book for a younger generation of fans, and then made my way around the room to examine the work on the walls.  What's interesting to note is that, while he may be a talented photographer, Elterman's success is really a result of making the most of a good opportunity - i.e. documenting the social circles he was able to infiltrate.  Nowadays, when rock stars attend promotional parties and anyone with a smartphone can (and does) upload a pic to Instagram in a matter of seconds, the idea of creating a similarly "iconic" collection is something of an impossibility.  As I watched sequential frames of photos projected onto a wall, the irony of how it resembled a Vine video wasn't lost on me.  Just like when I snapped a photo of the "legend" himself, I was painfully aware of how it would be just one of many others taken that night and eventually lost in the junkyard of social media.