As you may have seen from my Instagram (@KellyWPhotog), I am finally back from the wild blue yonder of Las Vegas. I was out west to attend the annual Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) conference. Not that much news to report, but I did manage to take some street photos while I was there. Here, dear readers, is my take on Las Vegas.
First a bit about the conference: it was a lot of marketing information. The bottom line for any photographers out there is that social media is king. The effectiveness of blogging on a regular basis was debated (I still hold the opinion that blogging is a good thing), but the bottom line is that you have to put your stuff out there and interact with other social media wizards.
One of the lessons given was that you need to split your Instagram account according to your ‘brand.’ In other words, all your wedding and portrait work goes on one account, and any fine art or photojournalism stuff goes on a different account. As such, I have made the decision to split out my Instagram account. Of course, Instagram uploading seems to be down for the moment, but right now you can still find all of my wedding and portrait work on @KellyWPhotog, while my fine art and landscape works will go on @KellyWilliamsPhotographer, and finally my street portraits and photojournalist work will reside on @KellyWilliamsStreetPortraits. Yes, I am a complex artist with many different perspectives. Please feel free to skip over to these sites and have a look!
I feel like it is still of interest to my main wedding and portrait base about my travel photos, but any fine art work or photo essays I will probably just keep to my personal site, www.Kelly-Williams.com and the blog associated with that site. It is my goal this year to publish more personal work, as I have felt a little bit creatively adrift this past year. My trip to Las Vegas, however, has re-energized me creatively, and I am hoping to put all of that energy into my wedding and portrait work as well.
I went out to Las Vegas expecting to love it, but what I found was a very disjointed, ugly city. Gambling without a partner in crime is frankly quite depressing, so that whole side of Las Vegas was out for me. Instead, I found myself as an outsider looking in. Coming from Orlando originally, I understand cities that are very transient in nature. Las Vegas has all of the superficiality of Disney World, and then some. Sadly though, the city and I just did not connect, especially since you have to drive everywhere. (I get nightmares whenever I have to get behind the wheel.) Crime is a big problem in Las Vegas, and I felt unsafe in areas downtown. Further, the city is in transition and has knocked down a bunch of buildings. The result is a multitude of empty lots and tons of construction.
What I do appreciate about Las Vegas is the ability to leave the city easily. With New York, transportation out of the city always seems to be an issue, and there is the ever present fear of missing out. Flying into Las Vegas, you can see the dark outlines of the city that are not inhabited. This never happens in NYC as the stars in the night sky are blotted out. In comparison, getting out of Las Vegas and into the mountains for a hike was an easy maneuver. The highlight of my trip to Las Vegas in fact, was a visit to the Clark County Wetlands Park. These are not wetlands in the sense I know from Florida — rather, the park was more of a desert with a river running through it. Still, it was a beautiful afternoon respite from the constant blinking neon of the Strip.
In researching my trip, I found that a lot of other people feel the same way about Las Vegas. The city has changed, and with the corporate overlords running the casinos, no one can get a good deal anymore. Perhaps I am being too harsh, however. Have you been to Las Vegas recently? What’s your view of the city? What did I miss on this trip?
The last five days of my trip were spent in Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve. I’ll have more details on these two spots in my next blog, so stay tuned.