For many English folk, Las Vegas is seen as the promised land. An adult playground, where anything goes, and everything is encouraged. It’s somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for many years, but my two-week street photography trips have always taken precedence outside of the wedding season.
Until this year…
My good friend Alan Law loves Vegas. He goes at least once a year, and for the last couple of years he’s been slowly getting into my head about joining him. I’ve always replied with a firm, yet exceptionally cordial, no thank you very much. This year however, I still hadn’t made up my mind on where to go for my pre-season street photography trip, when Alan stepped in and rationalised that spending six days and five nights in Sin City was a good idea. WPPI - the largest annual expo for professional wedding and portrait photographers - would be on at the same time, giving us the chance to see many talks and seminars by the world’s leading photographers. Plus I could actually do street photography whilst I was out there! And this idea excited me greatly, especially after I’d googled Las Vegas street photography and I couldn’t find anything other than the usual fare.
So we went, we learnt, we partied, and I came back with the biggest post-holiday blues I could remember.
STREET PHOTOGRAPHY IN LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas was a challenging place to shoot, not least because it’s essentially just made up of a single 4 mile road, The Strip. Without a car, I couldn’t explore extensively beyond this, and when I did so on foot, there wasn’t much going on at all. So most of the 3 days I spent photographing consisted of walking up and down The Strip, looking for moments, and by the third day of doing this I definitely had my fill. It’s not like in London, where if an area starts to feel samey, you can just jump on the tube and head to a totally different area.
I did head to Downtown Vegas one day, which was grittier and more characterful than the glitzier Strip. I didn’t have a problem photographing in the casinos there either (compared to the ones on The Strip), and on reflection, I probably should have spent more time there, as I got a decent return in pictures. Plus I chanced upon one of my favourite moments of the trip when I became a couple’s official (iPhone) videographer and back-up photographer during their drive-thru wedding!
Overall it was an interesting place to photograph, but next time I'll probably spend more time sleeping during the day, and getting over the night before...