Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Tropicana Avenue


Why another image from the Las Vegas strip?  Well, a couple of reasons.  First, the last one got me to looking at some other images from our stint in this town.  This one is from the same general location (the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave.).  This one, however, was taken from across the street – in front of the MGM Grand – and looks southwest toward Excalibur.  As I’ve said before, I’m a little “homesick” for the place.

By the way, if you ever decide to visit Vegas, don’t stay at Excalibur.  The place is a dump.  I wouldn’t suggest Luxor, either.  If you want to be in the middle of things, stay at Bellagio or The Mirage or even Caesar’s Palace.  That way, you can easily walk to most of the best spots, including The Venetian or Palazzo or Wynn’s or Encore.  You’re in the middle of the “high rent district”.

And that brings me to the second reason for posting this photograph.  I’m sure you’ve read or heard about Wells Fargo canceling what was apparently a regular outing for some of its employees to Las Vegas.  According to the story, these people were going to stay at Wynn’s and Encore for 12 days.  The problem, of course, is that Wells Fargo just received something like $25 billion in bailout money from the U. S. government (taxpayer money).  Now, I personally wouldn’t have objected if they were going to stay at Excalibur or perhaps Imperial Palace (both not very nice places).  If I had to spend 12 days in either place I’d have probably said thanks, but no thanks.  But Wynn and Encore?  These resorts are anything but “dumps”.  This is where the money goes, if they’re not going to The Venetian or Palazzo.  Anyway, the thought of these folks going to those places on my dime (well, our dime) got me just a little upset.  I doubt I’ll ever do any banking at Wells Fargo.  Maybe we could ask for our money back?

Aside from all of that, I like this image because it’s about as “dense” a photograph as I’m ever likely to produce.  If you follow Mark Hobson’s blog (, you have an idea where this is going.  This, incidentally, is in no way a criticism of Mark.  What fascinates me is the fundamental difference in approach between photographers who seem to favor what I’d call visual complexity and photographers who favor visual simplicity.  Both are perfectly legitimate styles.  And they are styles that represent a range of possibilities – in some cases, they will even overlap.

What really intrigues me, however, is the “why” of the difference.  Why is that some prefer to produce “dense” images and others will consciously look for scenes that contain as little as possible?  Personally, I have no answer.  In most of my images, you simply won’t see the amount of “stuff” that exists in this one.  For me, less is more.  But I haven’t a clue why that is.  I do know, however, that it extends well beyond photography.  It is, for example, the way I’ve done my “day job” for years.  If you can reduce a problem to its simplest form, if you can peel away the extraneous layers, then you just might find the solution.  At least that’s always been my approach.  Most of the time it works.  I also realize, however, that it’s not the only way.

I guess you could say the same thing for “photographic style”.


2 Responses to “Tropicana Avenue”

  1. Thomas

    I’m completely with you when it comes to “dense photography” – and I tremendously enjoyed your commment in the “landscapist” blog.


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