“Long Live the King” a year-long photographic journey of Elvis Tribute Artists and their fans - Americana captured in black and white.
"Americana" is defined simply as the culture of America. "Long Live the King" is a social document of Elvis culture as it exists today, a living breathing example of Americana.
This project will start in Memphis, Tennessee at Elvis Week August 10 – 17, 2013. This is the largest Elvis celebration of the year; it attracts Elvis fans from all over the country and the world, and it’s where the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2013 will be decided. During Elvis Week, I will be photographing contests, Gospel celebrations, Youth Karaoke at Graceland, Fans touring Elvis's birth place in Tupelo, candlelght vigils, street scenes, after parties, and much more...
After Elvis Week, I will be hitting the road to visit eleven different competitions and celebrations around North America. These will include the Elvis Explosion in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Harrrah's Cherokee Ultimate Elvis Competition in the heart of North Carolina's Smoky Mountains, the Las Vegas Elvis celebration, the Toledo Elvis Festival, Blue Suede Memories competition in Waterloo, Iowa, the Tupelo Elvis Festival in Mississippi, The Michigan Elvisfest in Ypsilanti, Windsor King Fest in Windsor, Ontario in Canada, as well as three others. At the end of the year, I will finish back in Memphis during Elvis week 2014, this time to exhibit the work I've produced throughout the year. The exhibition will then travel back to my home base of Minneapolis to be shown at a local gallery.
All this travel is expensive, so I won't be able to do this project without your help. My project manager (who happens to also be my wife, Andrea) and I have come up with a rough budget for the necessities of this year-long project that includes airfare, car rental, fuel, hotels, and food, as well as production costs including film, processing, printing and framing. As you can see by the images I am showing as examples , I've already invested time and resources researching the viability of this project. I've made important contacts within the community and am lucky to have the guidance of a great Elvis Tribute Artist, Anthony Shore.
Any money I can raise above my goal amount will go towards the publication of a book of Images from the project, notes from the road, and quotes from fans and tribute artists.
As I said in my video, I enjoy working on projects that involve people, cultures, ideas or themes that are foreign to me. What I didn’t say is how successful I’ve been in the past in learning about, getting to know, and gaining trust among people or in communities that are not my own. I always try to approach my work with my eyes and mind wide open, which is how I hope you and my other viewers will see my work. We are a nation of diverse people, and I love it with all my heart. Thank you for supporting this project, I will work very hard to make it the best I can.
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For the most part, this project is dependent on me being where I say I will be and to produce the work I say I will produce- but life happens, as we all know. It’s possible that an unforeseen family emergency could prevent me from attending one of the events I’m planning on, or that some of my film could be ruined somehow. While I take many precautions to ensure my film is safe, my backup plan in either case will be to choose another Elvis competition to attend to make up for the one I missed. Luckily, there are a number of Elvis Tribute events that take place throughout the year – it was actually hard to choose just eleven for this project. In any case, barring catastrophic events that I can’t predict today, I believe I can handle any bump in the road.
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