The Kings of England
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From 5th December to January 2020
The Kings of England project started as an exploration of the iconography of popular culture and of Presley himself, arguably the most photographed man on the planet. But it developed into a more personal study of the hundreds of Presley devotees Oxby met.
Coming mainly from working class backgrounds, the Elvis impersonators shared their own stories of personal tragedy and vulnerability. In taking on the personae of Elvis they wanted to perpetuate the memory of the King, but also a way of life that has been diminished following the closure of coal mines, steel foundries and manufacturing centres across the UK.
The result is a series of intimate personal portraits showing the drama, colour and spectacle of these Kings of England.
Graeme Oxby is a documentary and portrait photographer who concentrates on class politics, entertainment and religion in the UK and abroad.
He is also Course Leader and Senior Lecturer in Photography at The University Of Lincoln in the UK.
Graeme has been a creative professional since the late 1980s working in the commercial, music and entertainment industries based in London, Dublin & Manchester making music videos and commercials as well as TV and film commissions.
He also travelled widely on assignments from Angola and Mozambique to the former Soviet Union, The Far East, North & Central America.
Graeme wrote produced and directed “Shotgun Dave Rides East” starring Peter Capaldi and funded by The UK Film Council in 2004 before developing a feature project “Perfect Match” in 2005.
Graeme took a break from film making and photography in 2008 to oversee the return of influential Art Rock band Magazine to stage, screen and recording studio, returning to his photography practice five years later.
He was Artistic Director of The Hull International Photography Festival in 2015 and was commissioned by Hull City of Culture 2017 to deliver the Hull Beermat Photography Festival with winners chosen by Martin Parr.
Graeme contributed a portrait to the 2018 book “Invisible Britain” published by Policy Press supported by The Young Foundation, a charity that tackles major social challenges by working alongside communities, using the tools of research and social innovation.
Graeme has been regularly published in national and international publications including Stern, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vice (Worldwide), Huck Magazine, Metro, BBC, and The Times Literary Supplement.
Graeme’s five-year project on Elvis Impersonators entitled “The Kings Of England” was published in October 2018 by Bluecoat Press.
The Kings of England project was selected for exhibition at Format International Photography Festival 2019 where Graeme was also selected as The Photography Show Award winner.
Graeme was part of the group exhibition Photography On A Postcard in Somerset House at Photo London 2019 and selected as one of the images for publication in the 2019 box set.
In 2019 Graeme Oxby began working on a photography and poetry project entitled “Red White & Black” funded by Arts Council England and Hull City Council.
Graeme’s work is held in the collection of the Michael Komechak O.S.B. Art Gallery, Benedictine University in Chicago IL.
Graeme is represented worldwide by Institute Artists.
Graeme Oxby’s website