The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, September 21, 2018


New book and exhibition offer a rare insight into the people and landmarks of the real Las Vegas
Pink Cadillac. © Hunter Barnes. Courtesy of Reel Art Press.


LONDON.- Photographer Hunter Barnes has an extraordinary ability to document aspects of culture and communities ignored by the mainstream and often misrepresented in the modern American narrative. In his latest work Barnes explores the Las Vegas that was.

Off The Strip, the new hardback book and accompanying exhibition, sees Barnes document old Vegas and the people who shaped the town in its heyday.

Known for developing strong relationships with his subjects and forging bonds with the people he photographs, Hunter Barnes spent January 2017 meeting the original characters of old Vegas. Their lives a vivid reminder of the past, Hunter’s subjects in Off The Strip are a living embodiment of the now-demolished landmarks they frequented and defined. Remaining sites like the old Cigar Lounge, where the real Las Vegas characters of the late 60s and early 70s still hang out, are as much a part of Barnes’s Las Vegas story as their devoted clientele.

Published by Reel Art Press and with an accompanying exhibition at David Hill Gallery, Barnes’s remarkable portraits are a rare insight into the people and landmarks of the real Las Vegas. Former Casino boss Johnny Rulli, the first fully nude showgirl, Lisa Medford, Bobby Martini, bodyguard to Sinatra and Sylvester Stallone, lounge singers, pit managers, boxing judges, cocktail waitresses and peep shows, those in “the greatest town you could live in [where] the spirit of old Las Vegas still remains.” This remarkable study of Las Vegas captures a unique blend of obscure and familiar detail, enabling Barnes to continue his quest to reveal communities so often forgotten in the modern American narrative and on the verge of disappearing.

In his early twenties, Hunter Barnes (b. 1977) self-published his first book, Redneck Roundup, documenting the dying communities of the Old West. Other projects followed: four years spent with the Nez Perce tribe; months with a serpent handling congregation in the Appalachian Mountains; bikers, lowriders, and street gangs; inmates in California State Prison. Intense, true pockets and sub-cultures of America. Hunter shoots exclusively on film – the pace of analogue in harmony with his approach. Fundamental to Hunter’s work is the journey, the people, the place. hen committing them to film before they are greatly changed or gone forever.






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