Thursday, October 27, 2011

HOT VEGAS DAYS............

Covered Mongoose in Las Vegas.

I had to put my mediocre road racing career, along with my illustrious art career temporarily on hold when I moved to Las Vegas with my family. I took a job at the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper as a photographer, just to put food on the table.

Months later while covering an assignment at the Stardust Raceways for the newspaper I met the LV News Bureau chief photographer and his Senior staff. I had heard they were an elite group of photographers and writers whose sole duty was to publicize Las Vegas to the world, at the time. The News Bureau photographers were the only ones allowed in the strip hotel/casinos with a camera in those days.

The LVNB photographers were discussing how to take a picture of a speeding race car at a fast shutter speed so as to actually stop the racing car, making it appear dead still. My approach was different. It was to have the speeding race car just a blur as it sped by, while having the Stardust raceway banner on the fence frozen still. I felt that better showed the excitement and action of the race for my newspaper publicity purposes.  The picture I took ran full width on the front page of the Review Journal newspaper promoting the race. It was my photo of a race car that prompted the News Bureau to offer me a job a week later. ;-^)>

Stardust Raceway Picture that ran full page wide on the cover of the Las Vegas RJ

Throughout my life, my photography of cars or girls has always gotten me from HERE to THERE..............

The Las Vegas News Bureau was then owned and operated by of the Chamber of Commerce and was in charge of the publicity for all of Las Vegas. It was the most prestigious job as a photographer in town at that time. You got to shoot all the celebrity entertainers openings in the strip casino/hotels, and photograph their private parties afterwords, not to mention the big production shows getting to know and befriend the glamorous showgirls.

I also got the opportunity to learn a lot more about photographing women, finally becoming the consummate "cheesecake" photographer at the News Bureau. The head public relations guys at the hotel / casino's would schedule their assignments around my working times and ask for me if they had a girl to shoot.



Debra Jo Fondren, First: on the Visitor cover, Second: in the centerfold of Playboy magazine, Third: my first photography award from Playboy, Fourth: Playboy's- Playmate Of The Year. Fifth: the Playboy Calendar cover.



I became the exclusive photographer doing all the sexy girl covers for the states biggest weekly entertainment tabloid of the time, the Vegas Visitor. Bob Campbell (RIP), a one time celebrated LV Sun newspaper editor was the publisher who graciously gave me a opportunity.  After only the first cover, I received the exclusive rights to do all his covers until his death. I did more than 732 covers of them for him over the next 17 years. I was the only game in town. If you were a celebrity and wanted the exposure and publicity of being on the cover of the Vegas Visitor, you were referred to me. Requel Welch, Lisa Minelli and Vanna White included.


Many Playboy playmates appeared on the Vegas Visitor cover first.

The bright lights of Las Vegas attracts beautiful women "like moths to a flame". The bright lights attract them, they all come here at one time or another seeking excitement or fame.

Las Vegas Addy Club Award Winning advertisement that appeared in the Vegas Visitor 
for Hooper Photography in 1969.

I photographed the MINT 400 Queens for the Highest paying Off Road Race in the world, for over a decade. Sometimes on location sometimes in the studio, but usually with cars. The final Mint 400 Queen was picked from how the contestants preformed during the photo session.

 (A more complete bio or samples of photography can be viewed on &

I also took a job on the side doing the photography and publicity for burlesque club's, first the Gay 90's and then the Palomino Club, both in north Las Vegas, both owned and operated by Paul Perry. Because of my past experience I could do it all, take the pictures, design and do the art for the ads plus write the publicity. I probably learned more about photography of women there because all the girls weren't natural beauties in the bright light of day. Between the Vegas Visitor and the Palomino Club and Paul Perry's four other clubs, I learned how to accentuate the good parts, cover up the bad ones and leave something to the imagination. That way you can please most everybody!

Before Playboy magazine, I was being published in the better men's magazines around the world at the time and had an agent in New York, one in the Orient and another in Europe. Making the most of every opportunity I parlayed my interests in cars & women into a gig at PLAYBOY magazine. The first major pictorial for Playboy magazine that I did garnered the most response ever from the readers, "Sex and the Automobile".

By the mid 80's it was not so much fun any more and it actually had become rather restrictive, video was new and it was time for me to move on..........