On a mission to flood your daily experience with inspiration and innovative genius, the Ace & Tate Creative Fund was established to support young visionaries and materialise their ideas. This winter, the stage is given to our second fund recipient: photographer Hayley Louisa Brown, whose work will be simultaneously exhibited at our London store and Protein Studios. Shown during a three-day exhibition, Brown presents Children of Graceland.
From November 17th, the photographer, editor and creative director brings a visual essay that depicts the legacy of the late Elvis Presley, whose artistic imprint can still be felt in our present culture. Hayley, having joined the tour of Elvis’s estate in Memphis twice, made a collection of photographs that features young Elvis fans as a way to capture the artist as a lasting legend.
Characterised by authenticity, Hayley’s work contrasts mainstream imagery with innovative perspectives. Additionally, as the editor-in-chief of biannual hip-hop magazine Brick, she portrays a different side to the overtly masculine imagery often defining this genre. When we asked Hayley about her thoughts on Children of Graceland, she shared a first peek into what will be exhibited and an introduction to what made her capture these faces and scenarios.
“The first time we visited Graceland (2016), it was yet to be regenerated and the events happening during the Elvis Week were far more open to the public than they were this year and it was a much more laid-back atmosphere in general. This was during a children’s karaoke event, and it was the first time I had encountered the business of Elvis impersonation for kids. So many of them (including this kid) had their own business cards, and were taking it incredibly seriously. Nathan had travelled from New York to be there. I actually met and photographed him again this year, and he’s still going strong with his craft.”
“This was taken in 2017, and is part of the new Graceland. I feel very grateful to have visited prior to its huge regeneration as it now truly feels like a polished business, whereas before it felt like a road-side attraction that was falling apart a little – and that was far more endearing than the slick and shiny form it now has. This was the evening of the candlelight vigil to commemorate Elvis’s death, and whereas before you could roam the entire complex without a ticket and only needed one to go to the house itself, everywhere now has ticket barriers and is much more closed off. The night of the vigil was the one night where some of these barriers were removed, and people had a little more freedom to walk around. This is where people queue to get on the minibus to the house – it drives you literally across the street and it would be far quicker to walk but hey – and I liked the emptiness, as this area is normally full of people. People have their picture taken in front of this painting of the Graceland gates like it’s a theme park.”
“During my first trip in the days following Elvis Week, it was much quieter and I went from shooting maybe 10 portraits a day down to one or two. I remember strolling around, up and down the main walkway for hours, hearing the same Elvis songs play over and over whilst considering calling it a day when I saw this girl. Unfortunately my phone broke and I lost their information which I’m really sad about as I also took a picture of the whole family that I’d love to send them. But I saw this girl looking out the window of the minibus returning from the Graceland house and ran after her and her family as they disembarked. They were all so lovely, and I have a picture of her with her younger sister in the show, too.”
“When I imagined what Graceland would be like, I didn’t picture it to be on the side of a main road, sandwiched between a chicken wing fast-food spot and a funeral car hire garage. There’s also an Elvis-themed Day’s Inn motel right by Graceland – prime real estate. They have events and pool parties throughout Elvis Week, and they changed up this sign every few days. This one had all the letters, but it became a bit of a joke to go look at it and see which letters they’d decided to skip in order to have enough to make their quote of the day work.”
— 17 until 19 November | Exhibition of Hayley Louisa Brown at Protein Studios
— 17 until 19 November | Ace & Tate pop up space at Protein Studios
— 18 November | Riposte Magazine panel discussion at Protein Studios.
— From 16 November | A selection of Children of Graceland on display in the Ace & Tate peep store (10 Earlham Street, London)