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PUBLICATION

27.06.2018

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Elvis Presley died in August 1977 when he was just 42 years-old. There are many stars whose fame among fans never seems to fade; yet, even after four decades, Elvis remains the “King” – as his unofficial title states – of this pantheon. The French photographer, Clémentine Schneidermann, currently living in Wales, surprisingly discovered the cult of Elvis, not at Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee, but in Wales, very close to her home: every year, the Welsh coastal town of Porthcawl, celebrates the largest Elvis festival in the world. From 2013 to 2017, the photographer covered the festivals, documenting the visitors, their outfits, the concerts and the very particular atmosphere of the place.
It was there that she met the eight year-old John-Paul, performing at a bar in an Elvis costume. His artist name is Johnny B. Goode, and his mother had already planned a trip to Memphis, so he could take part in a Elvis newcomer-impersonator competition. In the summer of 2016, Schneidermann accompanied the family on their trip, consequently expanding her photographic series to include pictures taken at the USA’s Elvis memorial centre. This first book published by the photographer presents a total of forty images. The square-shaped motifs show gentle, touching portraits, mixed with images of interiors and landscapes. Schneidermann abstains completely from including scenes of the masses at the festivals, focussing much more on individual fans and their different roles within the context of their memories of Elvis. The outcome is a melancholic imagery full of empathy for the protagonists.
The photographer has not, however, found a simple answer to the Elvis cult. “I am often asked why people like Elvis so much. I’ve been forever looking for an answer. Maybe in truth there is no one particular reason. In a way, it seems that somehow their identities have merged with Elvis. His music has become the soundtrack of their lives, for better or for worse.” Right at the end of this wonderfully-designed book, the reader is surprised by a small booklet stuck in the back: the “bonus feature” with Johnny B. Goode is a charming, visual, travel diary that emerged from the trip to Memphis.                    
(Ulrich Rüter)

I Called Her Lisa- Marie, 80 pages, 40 colour photographs and a sixteen-page booklet, 25 x 25 cm. English/French, Chose Commune

The book can be ordered here.
© Clémentine Schneidermann
© Alice Zoo

Clémentine Schneidermann

Clémentine Schneidermann was born in 1991 and discovered photography as a youth on the streets of Paris. From 2009 to 2012, she studied photography at the Centre d’Enseignement Professionnel de Vevey in Switzerland. She completed her Masters in Documentary Photography at Newport University in Wales bwteen 2012 and 2014. The Unbearable, the Sadness, and the Rest received the 2016 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award. Schneidermann lives in Cardiff, Wales.

www.clementineschneider.com
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