This week, on the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, devotees flocked to Memphis, Tennessee, where Elvis lived, performed, and died. Photographer Landon Nordeman visited Graceland to capture the ecosystem of devotion that has grown since the king departed. While some people make what seems like almost a religious pilgrimage to lay flowers on his grave, others see the anniversary as a commercial chance to move merch. Fully formed fan clubs pulled up in buses from every corner of the world—England, Qatar, Chile—and others arrived, in costume, to croon to a captive audience.
Who are Elvis' biggest fans? It's difficult to typecast the kind of people who remain captivated by Elvis music and charisma. Nordeman met a young boy who road trips with his grandmother on weekends to impersonate Elvis and make money. He met another man who traveled from England, without his wife and kids, to pay his respects. "He just loves Elvis. It's just a personal passion for him," says Nordeman.
For such an occasion, there are official Elvis events organized by the company that runs his estate. And then there's everything else—from the impersonator strumming a guitar on the street to the impromptu meet-up in a parking lot to blast some of his music. On the 40th anniversary of the king's departure, there's plenty of love, passion, and creativity to go around. "Everyone's wearing the Elvis merch, the music is everywhere, some people were openly weeping," says Nordeman. "You couldn't be there without being fully overwhelmed."