It’s a pleasure to feature another photo-essay from photographer Aitor Santomé, whose work we published in our printed Grand Canyon Photo-Essay in 2017. In this series, Aitor visits the City of indulgence – Las Vegas located in Nevada’s Mojave Desert. Below is also a written introduction from Aaron Rolfe.
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A siren beckons you into her spell, across the mist of the dry, dark desert. the ultimate showgirl bursts bold, bright and boisterous on to the scene and into your senses, drawing you in with promises of endless entertainment and limitless restrictions.
Over a century of experience has allowed her to become a global headline act. Nevada is her stage, Las Vegas is the star, Sin City is her show. World-renowned for gambling, sex, and vices unrestricted, seducing you to live fast, spend faster and release yourself to her and her eternal night.
Many stories are told of the notorious diva Las Vegas, drawing millions of tourists 365 days of the year, days that do not start and do not end due to her unbelievable stamina to never stop or sleep. However there is a story behind her, a secret she has guarded closely from the world. Beneath the starlet lies a sensitive romantic.
Take a moment to breathe in the light of day, and you will sense a serenity exploring the streets as the sun shimmers off glass and steel. Intricate architecture creates a complex skyline that supports a compact strip, streaming with never-ending thrill seekers emerging at what they believe is midnight to discover it’s actually midday.
As the sun sets on the constructed oasis, the main performance begins, the bright light battle of illumination defying the darkness that draws over her. As she persistently keeps the public entertained, all she’s asks in return is that you notice her, and make her the centre of your attention. The spectacular is more than lights and geographical mimicry. She is paying homage to sensations from all around the world, structures, cultures, history, replicated to say ‘look at what I can do, see my uniqueness in my embrace of your icons’.
To her audience, she laughs off her reputation for mocking the accepted social views of relationships and marriage. Transient love, meaningless matrimony and cartoon ceremonies. However, in her heart, she yearns to see love in her streets, couples taking a chance. She offers her own solutions to the needs of those wishing to seal their bond. Whether they want to drive-thru in a Chevrolet with a minister dressed as Cher or an intimate ceremony in the splendid simplicity of a quiet chapel, she will allow you to celebrate your choice, without criticism, at the cost you can control.
Accused of aiding addiction and scandal as her slots spin and life savings shrink, secretly she is preparing the gift of a new future as a bell rings and a life-changing sum of money is won by an unsuspecting guest. Sitting at a table four players, four different backgrounds, four different lifestyles, share laughter, trade in stories and wish each other good fortune as dollars are lost and won, until gameplay ends and four companions become strangers again.
Las Vegas encourages us to connect with each other, love with ease and experience beauty whilst seeing each other as equals. She loves all her fans that come and go to see her grand show, because to her despite our differences, we ultimately all share one commonality, the colour green and a desire to disconnect from repeated reality and flirt with fantasy.
Written by Aaron Rolfe for Client Voyage
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