Seattle Photographer Daniel Berman | Seattle editorial photographer | (206) 387-3767 daniel@bermanphotos.com

Seattle Elvis Contest

Posted in news, personal work, Washington by bermanphotos on January 27, 2009

Thank you, thank you very much for viewing these pictures.

I found out about the Seattle Elvis Invitational when an ad in the back of a Seattle tab’ read “Elvis’ Wanted”. How could I not shoot this?

20 people performed in the competition, which was judged based on musical ability, “Elvis-ness” and costume. 2 women competed in the contest, and one of them tied for first.

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Rudy Razon, 67, sits backstage before singing ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ in competing at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009. This was Razon’s first time competing at the Invitational.

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Dino Macris sings ‘My Way” while competing at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.

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Wayne Holder sits at a table relaxing before competing at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.

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Wayne and his wife Colleen greet a fan.

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Enjay Santos, left, greets fellow Elvis impersonator Rudy Razon.

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The Peschel Family, minus mom: (L-R) Jimmy, Cassidy, and Shane. Taking after his father, Shane has actually performed as an Elvis Impersonator as well.

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The Peschel Family, minus mom: (L-R) Jimmy, Shane, and Cassidy. Taking after his father, Shane has actually performed as an Elvis Impersonator as well.

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Several participants pose for a picture while relaxing backstage.

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Steve Adams warms up before his featured guest performance at the Seattle Elvis Invitational. Adams has performed annually at the Invitational for nearly a decade.

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Steve Adams performs as a featured guest before the start of the Seattle Elvis Invitational. Adams has performed annually at the Invitational for nearly a decade.

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A packed house of 21 and older at Club Motor

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Elvis Pez dispensers are displayed on a table of merchandise for sale at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.

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Other food for sale included a bar specialty: the Elvis sandwich. There were numerous takers.

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Helen Gately performs ‘Big Hunk of Love’ during competition at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009. Gately tied for 1st overall.

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Chad “Chelvis” Donahue performs during the Seattle Elvis Invitational

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Danny Putnam laughs while chatting with other participants backstage during the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009. Putnam finished 4th in the competition.

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A participant unwinds with a beer following his performance at the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.

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Several participants rehearse the lines of the song “Return to Sender” before performing as a group en masse to close out the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.

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All 20 of those competing perform “Return To Sender” as a group to close out the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.

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All 20 of those competing perform “Return To Sender” as a group to close out the Seattle Elvis Invitational Saturday January 24, 2009.

It was also interesting to learn what many of these people do when they are not playing Elvis: one told me he was in accounts payable, another a teacher (and his students don’t know of his hobby) and others were artists and professionals. Each had different stories of how they came to be in the contest, but they all had a burning love for Elvis. I feel privileged to have gotten the chance to party with them for a night, and tell their stories.

And ultimately, this was a satisfying assignment, and a self-assigned one at that. It was great to just wander, not have to worry about a deadline image, and just shoot how I would like. Even though these Elvises, or as they prefer Elvii, were intensely camera aware, eventually my laid back shooting style wore them down. They suddenly stopped flashing their best Elvis grin and pulling their hands back into a pistol shape — they let me shoot them as they really were.

Thanks for looking-

Daniel

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One Response

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  1. […] since I first covered the Seattle Elvis Invitational back in 2009 when it was smaller and staged at the (sadly defunct) Club Motor, I have wanted to make portraits […]


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