Milligan professor has art exhibit at ETSU

By Lesley Hughes
star staff

  Some people are obsessed with rock stars or movie stars. Fans cross the world to see their favorite star in person, but if that icon has passed away, fans will still cross the Earth to pay homage at the star's home.
  This has never been more true than for fans of the late Elvis Presley. Oceans, countries, or miles don't stand between his fans and Graceland.
  But for one local photographer, she doesn't go to Graceland to photograph Elvis memorabilia, she goes to photograph Elvis' fans.
  Alice Anthony, photographer and Associate Professor of Art at Milligan College, has journeyed to Memphis for the past nine years to mingle with Elvis look-a-likes, impersonators, and the most dedicated fans in the world.
  As a rock-n-roll legend, Presley wooed fans from all over the country and globe. These fans still pay their respects to his Graceland home on the anniversary of his death, Aug. 16, 1977.
  Anthony's exhibit, entitled "Gone But Not Forgotten," is currently on display at the Carroll Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University until Oct. 31. In 2002, the Johnson City Arts Council Gallery displayed the photographs and in 2003 the exhibit was moved to the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery in Nashville from Aug. 21 through Sept. 12.
  The constantly changing exhibit is updated by Anthony after she returns from Graceland each year. Over half of the exhibit is new, from her trips in 2003 and 2004. For anyone who has seen the exhibit before, several new photographs are added, so the exhibit is worth seeing for a second or third time.
  Despite having short notice on the exhibit and less than a month to prepare the photos, Anthony was pleased with being asked to display her work. She also praised the layout that the Museum used for her work, "I think it is the best presentation I have even seen of my work."
  During her trip this year, she had the pleasure of meeting some of her favorite returning fans and also a few new ones.
  Three of her new photos are of 10-year-old "Little E." The boy and his mother have traveled from North Carolina for over seven years, but this is the first year that Anthony has photographed him.
  Traveling across the ocean doesn't seem to bother some fans. Two groups were from Liverpool and Oxford, England and another group of ladies traveled from Austrailia. "One of my goals is to photograph people from all different countries," Anthony said.
  By far, her favorite fans that she photographs year after year are two women, Jerry and Annie, also called "Pink and Black Ladies." Jerry and Annie, from Jefferson City, Missouri, greet Anthony each year with hugs and are always willing to have their picture taken.
  Anthony's show portrays the fans in their natural position of respect or interpretation of Presley. Some move into a dance pose. Others draw attention to their costume, but others agree to a photo and then continue on mourning at The Wall of Love, while Anthony shoots them in a natural state.
  "I never tell them how to pose. I might move around for a different background. But their pose is always a surprise," she said.