I've been meaning to pick up Robert Venturi's infamous Learning From Las Vegas, a book that called "for architects to be more receptive to the tastes and values of "common" people and less immodest in their erections of "heroic," self-aggrandizing monuments." I'll get back to you on that, but I begin this post thinking of Venturi's book because I just developed pictures from a recent trip to Las Vegas, amongst many other places on the West Coast.
Las Vegas is a strange animal indeed. I can't imagine I'll ever return there. It's streets lined with photographs of nearly-naked women and tourists taking pictures of its many faux monuments really rubbed me the wrong way. But the city also fascinated me. No where else have I been where there is such a clear delineation and obvious juxtaposition between the genuine or sincere, and the fake. Amongst the deprivation, loveless sex, and crude excess one can find families truly enjoying themselves. In front of and inside the city's plethora of architectural lies such as the Bellagio and Ceaser's Palace there are heart warming surprises such as the former's enchanting fountains. People really feel like they're somewhere special when they visit Las Vegas, but almost nothing in Las Vegas is new, at all. It's really a terrible place. Everything that is wrong with this country (the world really) all boiled down to a strip of road not more than four miles long.
Probably because of the obvious differences from the rest of the city, I really got a kick out of the seedier parts of town at the end of the the strip near the Sahara and the Stratosphere. Gross!
Anyway, below are some of the photographs I took in there. Some of these were taken with my Minolta SLR while others (the square ones) were taken using my Lomo Diana Mini.