Elvis for sure hasn’t left the building, at least not as far as Hayley Louisa Brown is concerned: titled Children of Graceland, a new exhibition sees the photographer journey to the King’s vast estate, fulfilling, Instagram would suggest, a long held dream, and exploring its relevance within a contemporary context in the process.
Launching tonight at east London’s Protein Studios – and running until Sunday with a panel discussion thrown in on Saturday afternoon, fans of conversation take note – the Ace & Tate Creative Fund backed show boasts a stunning series of portraits alongside images of the place’s physical attributes (signs, tombstones and the like); a unique lens on an icon, if you will.
An absolute Wonderland fave (Hayley was responsible for capturing Miguel for the Horror Issue back in 2015!), we’re, naturally, pretty excited to head down and explore – and pick up a copy of the accompanying zine – so much so that we couldn’t resist throwing a few quick questions her way beforehand…
What inspired you to begin a project based around the legacy of Elvis Presley?
I’m fascinated by Elvis’s iconography – for me the idea of him as a pop culture figure is a completely separate one to him as a musician, it’s the idea of his impact on culture and his visual that interests me more so than his music. I was curious regarding the longevity of this legacy – who would be replacing a significant fanbase that was, as morbid as it sounds, dying out?
And in terms of photography, what inspires your aesthetic?
When I was a teenager at 15 or 16 I would bunk the train into London and walk down the South Bank to the Tate for a couple of hours. It was inspiring to look at things which influenced my photography later on.
So you went to Graceland to explore Presley’s legacy and meet young fans. What did you discover?
It amazed me just how many of them had a genuine love in their hearts. How many revered his music, his movies, his style, his face. How many spent their weekends rehearsing their impersonations and learning to play his songs on the guitar. Like so many fans around the world, they still can’t help falling in love with Elvis Presley.
Children of Graceland is at Protein Studios until Sunday 19th November; images from the show will also be on display at the Ace & Tate London Peep Store at 10 Earlham Street.