The Kings of England
The Kings of England
A photography book about the vibrant world of England's Elvis impersonators.
A photography book about the vibrant world of England's Elvis impersonators. Read more
About this project
Hello! I'm Graeme Oxby, a photographer from the North of England. After completing a fine art degree in Hull in the late 1980s, I worked in London, Dublin & Manchester as a commercial photographer and film-maker for 20 years before stepping into the music industry to manage the return of Howard Devoto’s legendary post-punk band, Magazine. I currently split my time between running a photography degree and shooting documentary and cultural projects from my base in Yorkshire. In 2012, I had a chance meeting with a man who I had previously known as an glass collector. He’d given up his job, bought a Cadillac and was living his dream trying to make it as an Elvis Tribute Artist. From then on, I began to obsessively document the cultural impact of a young truck driver from Memphis who fused country music and blues, shook his hips and became the most photographed man on the planet.
Elvis badges, merchandise desk, Bridlington 2014
I travelled up and down the British Isles photographing some remarkable Elvises at competitions, at concerts and in their homes. Impersonating Elvis Presley is a phenomenon spanning ages, cultures and countries. The man known as “The King of Rock and Roll” or simply, “The King” is proving immortal.
Jason Brown, Elvis Tribute Artist, Birmingham 2014
I now want to turn my photographs into a book. Making the pictures for it has been a fantastic journey of discovery and the Elvis Tribute Artists (ETAs) I met ranged from professionals like Ben Thompson, who came second in the world championships in Memphis to Emanuel Febbo, a 40 year old civil servant from Italy, who arrived on a plane to perform in front of a crowd in Birmingham for ten minutes on a cold January afternoon.
Backstage at an Elvis competition, Bridlington 2013
Working for Uncle Sam, Blackpool 2014
ABOUT THE BOOK 156 pages / hardcover / 120+ colour photographs / 270x290mm (landscape). Publication date: July, 2015 / 1500 copies including 100 copies with a limited edition signed print. If funding is successful, I’ll be working with Bluecoat Press to turn The Kings Of England into a vibrant, entertaining and fascinating hardback photo book. Bluecoat Press has been publishing high quality photographic books since 1992. Owner Colin Wilkinson established Liverpool’s photography gallery, Open Eye Gallery, in 1977, and has had a long career in photography and creative industries. Since 2012, Bluecoat Press has specialised in publishing the work of British photojournalists including John Bulmer, Roy Stuart Clarke, Peter Dench, Bert Hardy and Patrick Ward.
Awaiting the cut, Bridlington 2013
The Kings Of England book will include pictures of 14 year old Roma Gypsy Elias “Little Elvis” Boswell, Bobby Diamond, the self styled “Black Elvis” from Hull and Polk Salad Annie - the super fan and spirit medium from Doncaster who actually saw The King in concert and has performed as Elvis herself. She is frequently a guest of honour whose opinion on the performers is eagerly sought after.
A selection of The Kings of England pictures are currently on a gallery tour until 2017 and with your help we can publish a book that will allow others to step inside the vibrant world of the Elvis Tribute scene in the UK.
The image below is available as a signed limited edition print (of 100) in the Rewards section.
Elvis as a boy, Birmingham 2014
The following three photographs are available as a signed limited edition set (of 25) in the Rewards:
Elvis as a boy II, Bridlington 2014
Judge’s hands, Elvis competition 2014
Marc George, Elvis Tribute Artist, Blackpool 2014
Risks and challenges
Barring acts of God, the final printed and bound book will arrive around the end of June and be distributed across the globe and into your hands (with any accompanying rewards) by the end of July 2015.
If you select the Elvisly Yours, Portfolio Review or King for a Day rewards, I will be in touch directly to secure a date in the diary; the chosen date can be anytime from now, the reward does not expire.
I hope that like me, you enjoy the potential of this project and endorse the model for publication; together we can make this book happen.
Thank you very much
Support this project
- (30 days)