I was 5 when I was introduced to the musical talents of Elvis Presley. Even at such a young age, I could appreciate his velvety voice, rhythmic moves, and million dollar smile - the combination that made Elvis a superstar. I can't call myself a hard-core Elvis fan, but I marvel at the legacy that he has left behind. Before his death in 1977, Elvis recorded approximately 784 songs, earned 28 gold records, made 31 movies and attracted millions of fans. Today, there is an estimated 85,000 Elvis Tribute Artists (ETAs) from around the globe that keep the music and spirit of Elvis alive by reenacting his performances at various festivals, concerts and competitions. Last weekend I had the opportunity to photograph my first ETA competition in Toronto, Ontario at the Flaming Star Festival, and I loved every minute of it!
Sideburns: The Ultimate ETA Fan Magazine hired me to photograph the Gospel competition and final performances in both the professional and non-professional categories. Since it was my first ETA competition I wasn't sure what to expect. I was immediately struck by, not only the quality and authenticity of the performances, but by the reception of the audience. It was a community based in mutual appreciation for the music and legacy of the King of Rock and Roll.
In terms of photography, my goal was to capture the passion and energy of the performances. The stage lights were bright enough to allow a lower ISO; however, due to the constant movement I had to increase my speed. I did not use a flash unit because I wanted the focus to remain on the performers and not the cluttered background. I have featured the portraits of Bruno Nesci, William Young, Anthony Joseph, Mike Calamusa, Eddy Popescu, Eric Evangelista and Gord McNeil. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed photographing them!