Lost Vegas by Tim Levy

Black Eye Gallery | 20-Jan-2018
A photographic exhibition held at Black Eye Gallery.
Venue: Black Eye Gallery
Address: 3/138 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Date: 30/1/18-11/2/18
Time: 10am-6pm
Ticket: Free
Web: https://blackeyegallery.com.au
: https://www.facebook.com/blackeyesydney/
EMail: tom@blackeyegallery.com
Call: 0411 874 673
Lost Vegas by Tim Levy
Las Vegas is a city of contradictions. While high rollers' are burning through cash in The Strip's super casinos, directly beneath them are impoverished people literally living in the drains. Likewise, just overhead, a flight of trillion dollar fighter jets (F-35's) prepare for a war that may never happen, while below on skid row, the war against poverty is being lost.

Within a one-block radius, you can find a super happy marijuana mega mart and a nervously grim gun show. At night Vegas shines with a neon brilliance drawing thousands of noisy revelers, yet within 20 minutes drive you can be in the complete silence and darkness of the desert. People gamble because they say it makes them happy - but why do the majority look so miserable? They have the laxest gun laws so that everyone can own a gun and feel safe - yet there is a palpable fear present whenever there is a slight altercation. Even the areas original name Paradise' contradicts the wastelands of bleak abandoned lots and cheap decrepit motels.

So what attracts more than 40 million visitors each year to this mecca of adult entertainment? Perhaps it's what one gambler told me - Las Vegas has a 'randomness' about it, and this is what he is addicted to - not sex, drugs, booze or gambling - but the opposite of a predictable mundane life. It's a fantasyland where in minutes you can be in an ersatz New York, Paris, Venice or ancient Egypt or Rome (Interestingly Vegas has more hotel rooms than any of these real cities).

This semi-libertarian Sin City is where any desire can be catered for, and anything could happen - good or bad. On one hand it is 120% more likely (than the national average) for you to become a victim of violent crime. Or at a casino you could go from unlucky to lucky in the blink of an eye - the hope of a win for a gambler is always just around the corner. Perhaps this is also what made Las Vegas the fastest growing U.S. city of the last decade - the hope for a better, more interesting life.

This exhibition is a culmination of 3 visits over 5 years. As a street photographer, you can only attempt to record what you find interesting, unusual, extraordinary, funny, ironic, empathy inducing or signs of the time. And with Vegas - there is an unending churn of characters and bizarre happenings on a daily basis. But mostly, Vegas is a microcosm of the U.S. - full of glitz, glamour, freedom', entertainment and brilliant inventions and its flip side - false hope, cheap highs and increasingly insane amounts of wealth inequality.

Opening Night: Thursday 1st February, 6-8pm.

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