Its been said before but it bears repeating: Las Vegas is fucked up; sad, beautiful, run down, built up, shiny and dulled, like a pocket knife stabbed into the sand. It’s populated by dwarves and grinning giants (which stride across the street in one bound, lit in neon), bo-toxed angels and be-suited demons, sexy and ugly, desperate and hopeful, greedy and needy; Vegas drinks too much and dresses badly and gets around on motorised wheelchairs when it is perfectly able to walk. Sinatra and Elvis have left the building and have been replaced by ‘The Jersey Boys’, magicians, hypnotists and tribute acts, costumed ‘Angry Birds’ and ‘Spongebobs’, ‘Buzz Lightyear’ and ‘Woody’ line the streets… “But Mummy, how can ‘Buzz’ be sitting back there and standing in front of us too?!…and, “Why is Spongebob drinking a can of beer”? Card snapping small people flit like locusts and promise a ‘Hot Babe to your room in 20 minutes’. Couples argue and kids whine and beggars demand and all the while the desert heat pounds down on ‘New York, New York’ and the Statue of Liberty looks out upon The Strip, holding a fibreglass ice cream in place of her flame.
Photographically speaking, Vegas is hard. It’s a reflection of itself and of America, and again of a fantasy of America. To photograph Vegas is like shooting a mirrored room. Its a loopy loop. I had better luck far downtown, away from The Strip and where the girders stick out of the sand. The recession has reached everywhere – even Vegas. Especially Vegas. All in all I was glad to get out of there.