Leica M6TTL Lens : Voigtlander 21mm f4 Film : Ilford HP5+ Developer : Ilford ID-11
We drove to Las Vegas from Phoenix, a distance of around 340 miles or so. We left Phoenix on the Carefree Highway – where else could you find a road with a name that makes you feel like you’re on holiday? Along the way we were constantly aware of the desert on either side of us. We passed countless saguaro cacti, their upturned arms like surrendering soldiers everywhere, and a forest of Joshua trees (surely evolved specifically for photographic purposes).
Las Vegas Boulevard, “Sunset Strip” or just “The Strip” as the locals referred to it, leaps from the landscape and is visible long before you’re anywhere near it. The approaching desert is flat; covered with what look like residential buildings – nothing over a few stories and covering many square miles.
However, despite the long distance view, arriving the Boulevard is still a shock to the senses. It’s a madcap place. It’s as if someone has drawn a line in the road at each end to mark the boundaries of both the luxury hotels and the relaxations of normally-permissible behaviour.
As we walked along The Strip I mentioned to my wife that it felt like we were surrounded by illusions.
Promises of instant wealth line the outside of casinos, roller coaster rides sit on top of hotels, scantily-clad showgirls pose for photographs with passers-by, people queue to watch volcanoes erupt or fountains spout water in time to music, pirates climb the rigging of sailing ships while hydraulic pumps hiss to make the ships move and sink – the result of a direct hit from cannon fire. It’s possible to take in the view from the Eiffel Tower, buy Prada from a Street in ancient Rome, get a hotel room in a pyramid or take a gondola ride on a canal inside the Venetian Hotel.
This picture was taken on Las Vegas Boulevard. The Eiffel Tower calls in the background, while palm trees remind us we’re in the desert (although we didn't see any on the 340 mile drive…). Most prominent is the “hot babes” truck, one of two which seem to circle endlessly up and down The Strip, promising that they can not only find a woman who wants to meet me, but also arrange for her to visit. I mentioned to my lovely wife that I thought that this would be an impressive feat – to finally find a woman who wanted to meet me – and might be worth the price of a phone call.
She muttered something along the lines of, “Talk about surrounded by illusions…” and walked on in the sunshine, shaking her head...