Southern Focus

Close-Up of a Would-Be King

The art of being Elvis

Photo: Amanda Greene

Whatever you do, don’t call them impersonators. The Elvis “tribute artists” who compete at the annual Big E Festival—this year’s takes place August 2 through 4 in Clayton, Georgia—don’t just slap on some sideburns and crank out a karaoke version of “Heartbreak Hotel.” Instead they put their hearts and hips into wowing the judges in five categories: vocals, appearance, authentic movements, connection with the audience, and stage presence and professionalism. The Danielsville, Georgia, photographer Amanda Greene captured this image of would-be-King Robert Lutz last year, her second time photographing the event, which is the brainchild of the Georgia artist (and Elvis museum owner) Joni Mabe. “They’re serious about it,” Greene says. “They’re not trying to be ironic. And I don’t want people to think I’m making fun of them—I truly find them visually delightful.”