Don’t Shoot, I’m Only a Photographer!
“Hey buddy, what’s going on?”
In top secret casino security talk this is code word for “Hey you, what sinister act are you up to!?” and if you try and take photographs in Las Vegas without being surrounded by dozens of other people, and heaven forbid actually use a tripod, you should expect to hear it, or a variation of it.
Welcome to Vegas, just gamble and go away
I admire the strip. Las Vegas boulevard is a beautiful place, full of overlooked hidden secrets that most never see due to the ADD (attention deficit disorder) inducing nature of the town. Get here, get drinking, blow some money on a slot machine or table, see cirque, go home.”
Such chaos is carefully maintained, secretly watched by numerous cameras (both hidden and in plain view), security guards (both undercover and also in plain view), and metro police officers (they are the ones in yellow and black, usually on a bicycle).
It is only when you stop and take a moment to look deeper that you can see Vegas for what it really is. A city with a brilliant flare for the surreal.
A place where you can stop and watch as France meets Italy and where Egypt meets medieval England.
It’s this place that I attempt to document. To capture and preserve.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that I was stopped while taking photographs.
The first time came downtown on old Fremont street as Binions Gambling Hall decided that it was a (exact quote) “Homeland Security threat” to allow photography of other hotels from their parking structure.
Binions literally followed me out of their parking garage by driving behind me until I was a block away from the casino.
Planet Hollywood on the other hand offered to contact their senior officer and clear me to take shots. After I pointed out that I had been even higher up only a few days ago without incident, he relented, but still held to his guns.
“Just doing my job sir” he answered.
“I understand” I replied. At a whopping 14% unemployment in this city, I really honestly do understand.
I left, tweeted about it and went home.
But there is hope. A great vantage point for seeing the strip can be found on top of the Showcase mall parking structure. You are 14 floors up and no one ever seems to be on the roof.
It made this shot possible, and will enable some great night scenes, in time.