Love Me True

ClĂ©mentine Schneidermann photographs ‘The Elvies’ – Porthcawl’s annual Elvis festival

Words by Clémentine Schneidermann

This last September I decided to go to Porthcawl (South Wales) to cover the annual Elvis Presley meeting. Along Coney Beach riverside, hundreds of Elvis lovers are walking and drinking, singing Suspicious Mind and other famous tunes. The majority of the audience is coming from the surrounding Valleys and Cardiff. There are authentic impersonators, who physically look like Elvis, but then there are also the everyday people, the (low budget Elvis') who wear wigs and cheap gold plastic sunglasses.

Porthcawl Festival is a platform for young Elvis impersonators to get their start and it is an honor to perform at this festival. There are famous Elvis impersonators who travel hours from the North of England for special performances. There are also the locals of Porthcawl who feel trapped by the festival and resent the loud partying and drinking. This work is a short term project which encapsulates the elements of British culture which I'm drawn to; People dress up as Elvis as a way of escaping the mundane of their lives. I deliberately took private photographs, isolating the subject on their own, from the often hectic setting. To continue this project I will go to Memphis in February to meet fans coming from all around the world to visit Graceland.

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