Work / Photography

Photographer Clémentine Schneidermann celebrates the spirit of Elvis

After completing her masters in documentary photography at University of South Wales, French-born photographer Clémentine Schneidermann travelled to the US. I called her Lisa Marie is a project which jumps across the Atlantic, weaving together the threads of Clémentine’s American-Welsh life.

Elvis’ legend may survive in glittering Graceland, Memphis, but in Porthcawl, South Wales, a yearly festival fights to keep the king alive. On 23—25 September, thousands of Elvis fans travel to the small seaside town for tribute shows in over 20 venues making up “the largest Elvis event in Europe”.

“Between Tennessee and Wales,” Natacha Wolinski writes of _I called her Lisa Marie-, “the fans bear an uncanny resemblance to each other, all clones of a double-chinned idol with his slicked-back quiff, all children of the zone and the stack of money, all laying claim to the fat belly and the kitsch of the parvenu idol. With their petrol-blue shirts and billowing skirts, these doubles of Elvis and Priscillia act out the same sweet dream, one clinking with glory and posterity.”

Whether in the form of a life-sized model of Elvis strumming his guitar, a white suit hanging lifelessly in the corner of a room or a ginger-haired boy sneering, something of Elvis’ spirit penetrates every image, bringing with it a sense of community from Wales all the way to Tennessee.

Clémentine has picked up attention from Magnum and the New York Times, won numerous awards and had her work published in The British Journal of Photography, iD, The New Yorker, The Telegraph and Accent Magazine among many others.