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Vegas’ Post-Recession Economy for TIME

This week’s issue of TIME, August 19, 2013 | Vol. 182 No. 8 (with the honeybee on the cover,) includes a feature story I shot for TIME recently on the changing face of visitor spending and the post-recession economy here in Las Vegas.

This is how the print edition came out. I love that they used one of my favorite images from the assignment for the table of contents page.  Pretty sure that image will show up in my Born on the Fourth of July essay when I get back around to updating that project.

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Bookmark and Share August 10, 2013
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Las Vegas Arts District for Sunset Magazine

I was psyched to hit a handful of the great arts district spots in downtown Vegas for a feature in the current, November 2011 issue of Sunset magazine, on stands now.  The online edition is not posted yet but I’ll update this post with a link as soon as it is. Here’s a look at the print edition layout:

Bookmark and Share November 1, 2011
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Toastmasters World Finals for The New York Times Magazine

On a Saturday morning last month my alarm went off at 4:30am. Groggy, I collected myself and cameras and rolled into Bally’s on the Las Vegas Strip for a 6am assignment shooting the World Championship of Public Speaking, sponsored by Toastmasters International, for the October 2 edition feature, You Are Here in The New York Times Magazine.

I covered Toastmasters years ago for another story but really had no idea what to expect from this event, it’s participants and audience. It was pretty clear upon my arrival that this event would be taken with seriousness by all involved as it was explained to me that this is the Olympics of public speaking, with finalists and supporters from the world over in attendance. Hefty security, hushed voices and repeated reminders to me that if any of the participants were uncomfortable with my presence (and shooting) at any time that access would be withdrawn.

Reporter John Bowe shares the full story best, so I’ll leave it to him. The morning was a fun one. The finalists were each interesting in their own right, and no one minded me documenting their preparations leading up to their world championship public speaking performance. It was another great reminder of how fascinating all of our unique stories, passions and sub-cultures are.

The tear sheet and a few out-takes from backstage…

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Chef Carla Pellegrino for Vegas Magazine

I had the pleasure of photographing Chef Carla Pellegrino for the second time in a month when Vegas Magazine called for a feature on the  Brazilian/Italian chef for their Chef Talk feature for the September issue. Chef has opened her second restaurant, Bacio by Carla Pellegrino, here in Las Vegas in less than a year and that’s just a piece of all this talented, smart and sexy lady has going on! Here are a few out-takes, and the tear sheet.

 

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Zappos.com’s Tony Hsieh for American Airlines

I have photographed Tony Hsieh, the 30-something mastermind CEO of Zappos.com, quite a few times over the years working in Vegas. Still, being hired to visit the Zappos.com offices for a client makes me cheer. Tony and company are just so. much. FUN! These are definitely the cool kids.

This round American Airlines’ in-flight magazine, American Way, asked me to make portraits of Tony and shoot environmentals of the headquarter offices for a feature story for their August issue. My pleasure!

The story is a great read and fascinating tale of how doing things your own way and putting people over profits can work.  If you are ever in Las Vegas, Zappos does tours! You should go check-out this company and experience the unique culture of the place. Visiting always makes me reflect on how the majority of American businesses operate. And if you’re flying American Airlines or American Eagle this month, send me a cell phone snap of my pictures in the magazine via Twitter (@tiffanybrown) and I’ll send you a surprise!

Here’s the magazine spread and a few outtakes of Tony portraits.

 

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2011 Spring Print Promotion

I’ve had a lot of firsts since transitioning to freelance last May. This has been one of the most satisfying to accomplish thus far. My spring print promotion, one of three for 2011.

Last spring, to create a new portfolio better suited to my personal style and the freelance market – after eight years as a newspaper staff photographer, I worked on re-editing through my entire archive of the last decade, looking at literally every image I have shot personally and professionally.  After many rounds of edits and developing the concept of pairing my images as diptychs, came the re-brand and new web site creation. I thought all the design and site development would take 6-10 weeks. That was my first lesson that good design and thorough projects always take longer, several times longer, than expected. It took six months, however, the end result created by Greg Lutze of Must Warn Others was 100% what I wanted.

Phase two came last fall, developing a marketing campaign to introduce myself to a wide range of new potential editorial clients, ad agencies and design firms. By referral from a few friends and colleagues, I contacted Jasmine Defoore, a photographer marketing consultant. Jasmine had the background and experience to help advise and collaborate with me on developing a series of self-promos to kick off the next phase of my career as a freelancer. She was a perfect fit and was on-board with my goals, budget and over-all approach to relaunching myself.

Jasmine and I developed ideas for the concept of my self-promo and with a solid project proposal began researching designers and agencies whose work we were each impressed with or curious about. I searched design annuals by PDN and Communication Arts looking for any variety of design that resonated with me and explored links and followed tweet threads from designers I liked, and on and on. We made a list of 24 designers/firms between the two of us and then narrowed that down to seven who we contacted to see if they’d be interested in working with us on the project, and were available. We requested estimates, proposals and timelines.

We had an aggressive timeline we wanted to start by so it was just under three weeks from initial researching to when I contracted with the talented Giorgio Baravalle of de.MO to create this year’s promo magic.

The thing I have learned most is that these things, like the re-brand, always take waaay longer than expected. I decided to hand address all 1400 labels. THAT took way longer than expected too. But alas, this first of three mailers for 2011 is out! I’ll blog more on the creative process behind my re-brand and new site design last year with Greg, as well as the last six months of my work with Giorgio and Jasmine to create this piece. An coordinated e-promo will follow this mailing in a few weeks, and then the schedule of consistent marketing continues from here forward. That’s what all the surveys and experts say, consistent, quality communication is what works. Here’s hoping!

Below are a few glimpses of the finished piece. The promo is a series of six cards printed on 130# Chorus Art Silk Cover, designed around a boarding pass theme, playing off the fact that Vegas is such a travel destination. The cards are packaged in a zip-close silver transparent envelope showing the index card on one side and the opposite side addressed with a branded mailing label and recycle themed stamps.

The top index card is perforated so the contact information on the right can be kept, separate from the large card, if desired.

We used a QR code on every card that links to a special spring promo page on my web site for an accompanying print giveaway promotion. Recipients of the print mailer can sign-up to receive a signed, limited-edition print.

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Nightclub Boot Camp for Forbes

I’m back! I’m married, and I have lots of updates to share from life and work over the last two months.

I want to begin the catch-up by sharing my first assignment for Forbes. In late January Redux contacted me to work on the four-day assignment shooting one of Forbes’ reporters as he went through a busser “boot camp” at a high-end Las Vegas nightclub. Oh, and he would be under-cover. Aside from just a few select people who were training him, none of the rest of the staff of bussers, cocktail waitresses, hosts, bar tenders or security, at The Bank, in the Bellagio, would know he was a reporter.

Steven Bertoni, is a Forbes staff writer who reports on Forbes’ two mega-lists: The Forbes 400 and World’s Billionaires, as well as entrepreneurs, sports and lifestyle stories. This adventure was about how his usual subjects, Vegas’ highest rolling customers, are tended to in luxury detail in a club setting – through the service they’re given, and the aesthetics that are maintained to please them.

After the first physically exhausting full night shift from 10pm to 6am (yes, AM) I wasn’t sure if Steve was going to make it through the full four day training, but he did, and in stellar, though often comical, form. He describes it all best so I’ll let you read the story to get the details.

This was a super fun, thoroughly exhausting assignment documenting Steve’s adventure and working Vegas “industry” hours. Read: all night… It was awesome to see the great photo play in the five page layout of the print edition. There is an expanded photo gallery on Forbes’ site as well.

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What Stays in Vegas – Part I

People always ask what it’s like to live in Vegas. For most people Vegas is the place you come and live big for a hot minute and then beat feet back to where you came from.  However, for those of us staying in Vegas not just Friday-Saturday-Sunday, but Monday through Thursday too, it turns out that being a local puts you in a wildly diverse nucleus of people that are as talented as the strip is glitzy.

Case in point number one: Meet Anja.

Five nights a week, two shows a night, Anja balances on her head while swinging through the air on a washington trapeze, 30+ feet high over a pool of water. That among other acrobatics, aerially suspended feats and unicycling. No, she’s not a stripper. She’s a world class athlete, artist and performer. To see her perform is to see magic. She also speaks five languages, has great style and is interested in world news as much as art.

Extraordinary friends like Anja are part of what makes Las Vegas such an amazing place to call home. That, and the fact that my neighborhood gym is the size of Costco and the workout rooms are covered in neon. Oh, and whatever the craziest, most world record breaking event and celebrity dramas unfold just down the street.

Anja is from Switzerland, the daughter of a composer and a classical pianist and at 14-years-old she went to circus school. She has been performing as an acrobat in shows around the world ever since and has been the lead female character in Cirque Du Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio since it opened in 1998.

Anja and my other Cirque friends inspire me to no end. We have dreamed up some fabulous photo ideas together over wine and T&Ts the last few years but have not had the chance to act on many of them, yet. One of my biggest excitements about making the transition to freelance is the ability to make time to experiment and play more creatively – in addition to working on other more structured personal projects.

I’m looking forward to sharing these photographic play sessions along the way. For now, meet Anja. If you visit Las Vegas it’s worth every cent to go see her and the incredible cast of “O” at the Bellagio.

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The Best Stuff

A last minute get out of town for the night with Kirk and James. Camping outside Las Vegas near Griffith Peak and hiking under the full moon. Not bad for 45 minutes off the Strip.

Bookmark and Share November 12, 2010
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Promcoming

I love people that love to have fun. Some Vegas friends had the idea to throw a themed prom party, complete with a balloon arch! I couldn’t pass up finding a silver mylar curtain to add to the back-drop and partaking in the awesomeness with a portrait series while catching up with friends. Here are a few favorites.

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Bookmark and Share November 12, 2010
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