BRAD ELTERMAN

NATALIA BONIFACCI MEETS BRAD ELTERMAN FOR REDMILK. HE IS A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO LIVED THE ROCK AND PUNK SCENE OF LOS ANGELES IN THE LATE SEVENTIES AND EARLY EIGHTIES, TAKING PART IN THE CRAZIEST PARTIES AND ATTENDING THE BACKSTAGE OF MORE LEGENDARY CONCERTS

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Who was the last person you took a picture of?
Giorgio Moroder. Today. It was epic because there are not too many living legends around today and he’s definitely one of them.

When did your love of photography start?
When I was a teenager I was very shy. It started when I was thirteen years old; it was kind of a way for me to connect with people.

Who is your favourite subject and why?
My favourite subject would still probably… Well, back in the day it was Joan Jett because she just had it. Not only did she photograph so beautifully, but she knew how to move and walk and she had swagger. She had this wonderful coolness about her, so, definitely, Joan Jett.

How would you describe your perfect day?
A day with sunshine. Every day seems to be the perfect day here in Los Angeles.

Which quality do you most admire in people?
Sincerity. Culture and sincerity.

And which do you like least?
Phony, superficial: LA people.

Brad Elterman is really good at…
Enjoying life. I’m kind of a romantic.

And really bad at?
I’m really bad at making decisions. And I am bad at commitments.

What’s your favourite song of all time?
Mister Tamburine Man by Bob Dylan. Especially where he says “…to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free Silhouetted by the sea…”: it doesn’t get any better than that.

Why is life beautiful?
Because I am here and enjoying it and everybody is different.

What frightens you?
Not much. You know I just keep going ahead. I guess not being able to reinvent myself, not having change, not being creative… A nine to five job, THAT would really be frightening.

If i say ‘olivier zahm’ what comes to mind?
Intellectual.

If i say ‘purple magazine’ what comes to mind?
Happiness.

If i say ‘dog dance’ what comes to mind?
Memories of the 70s.

Where does the name ‘dog dance’ come from?
This guy Kim came up with the name, Kim Fowley, it meant like a party. “Oh, we’re having a dog dance at my house, com’over!”. (he laughs)

The image that changed your life
The image that changed my life was my image of Bob Dylan, taking pictures of Bob Dylan, because he was such an icon and he was my hero. And because he was such a poet. I met him in 1976 when I photographed him with a young actor named Robert De Niro backstage at the Roxy on Sunset Strip.

What aspect of your work do you like the most?
Meeting and hanging out with people that are half my age. Hanging out with younger people and learning from them. Just learning about pop culture and about the Internet, and learning about social media. And learning about their dreams, what inspires them and what they aspire to. And also how lucky I was to be young in the 70s.

If i say los angeles, what do you say: what’s la to you?
Finally a world class city, with culture and art and friends who come here from all over the world. Now it’s a world class city and it’s only happened recently. And I don’t need to go to Europe as much as I used to, because friends from Paris, friends from Berlin, friends from Italy now they all come here, and they all wind up at the Chateau… So I can finally see all of these cool people without the jet lag. LA is also one of the most comfortable cities: perfect weather, we all have our little cars, we love to drive around. There are so many little villages here, we’ve got Echo Park and Silver Lake and the Los Feliz. And then you have West Hollywood and then Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Santa Monica and so on, and they all have different identities.

If you were to meet your fifteen year old self, what advice would you give yourself?
Work for yourself, take pride in your work and don’t ever look back. Take chances. Take risks in life.