February 27, 2021
When I look through my contact sheets I love recording them on my iPhone, reappraising them and seeing the patterns emerging as I share them on Instagram. These pictures were take in Nevada in 2001 and in California in 2003, and yet have been overlooked until I posted them on Instagram in January 2021. I especially like how these two, one taken in the Salton Sea and one in Las Vegas look like they belong together as a pair.
On the second year I visited the Salton Sea, I began on the north shore of the Lake and travelled in a clockwise direction, the Motel Desert Shores was the last place I explored of the Salton Sea, but what a rich source of photographic possibilities. When I was there the year before the light was really hazy, and I only stopped at the north side for a couple of hours photographing the Desert Beach. The pictures I took went on to be featured in an article in the the Independent when the media spotlight fell the Salton Sea due to the Val Kilmer film of the same name. I was so fortunate the second time I visited as there was no haze, instead a rich blue sky, perfect for my Agfa Ultra film. The authentic mid-century architecture of the faded motel made it an exciting subject, the popping red of the boards covering the windows create a living Mondrian disguising the true dereliction. The drive leading up to the motel flanked by palm trees recreates the cinematic vision of the American lifestyle.
I was drawn to the Algiers Hotel in Las Vegas as it was noted for retaining its original design as built in 1953, shunning the modernisation of many other hotels on the strip such as valet parking, there you parked outside your room like they do in the movies. Sadly today it's gone and what stands in its place is generic high rise glass fronted skyscrapers so I am glad to have photographed there, captured it before it disappeared. This piece of architecture which so funnily shares the same roof line as the Motel Desert Shores is merely a functional bit round the back but there's certainly something interesting about the structural lines and technicolour of the Agfa Ultra film in the Las Vegas heat.
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