Photographing in Casinos by Adam Jacobs

Where we can and cannot shoot as photographers is always somewhat of a grey area; this is especially the case when it comes to casinos and other gaming locations. Having recently returned from a trip to the States, I was reminded of a shooting assignment to Las Vegas. On this trip, I was fortunate enough to photograph some of Las Vegas’ most iconic locations including Ceasars Palace, The Wynn and the MGM Grand where I was commissioned to shoot the casinos along with some of the rooms in the hotels and golf courses.  However, in advance of doing so I was required to obtain a permit to shoot within these casino locations or request the permission of the resort’s PR team. Below are a couple of my favourite shots from the trip:

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Indeed, if you are looking to shoot still photography or video in a casino resort whether in Vegas, Macau, Atlantic City or any location worldwide where gambling and gaming occurs, you will more than likely run into a burly security guard asking you questions and be asked to put your equipment away, especially if carrying a professional looking SLR and tripod.  This is true even if you’re just a tourist looking to photograph some holiday snaps as a souvenir to take home with no intention of swindling the casino or selling the photographs for commercial gain.  In fact, you may find it difficult to shoot any kind of photographs in gaming areas with slot machines, roulette tables and other casino equipment present even with a smartphone or newer piece of technology such as Google glass. It is therefore only natural that so many people have veered towards online casinos including which have risen in popularity as opposed to land based casinos. 

My suggestion for photography would therefore be to stick to the communal areas in such locations which, still make for beautiful photographs as can be seen in this shots below of the lobby area of Ceasars Palace and the enormous pool complex.  Also, as always, it is beneficial for us as photographers, to do our research before shooting in such locations to ensure you don’t run into problems and can enjoy making great photographs without worrying about potential consequences. 

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Billy Huxley by Adam Jacobs

I recently shot Billy Huxley for Moss Bros. You may recognise Billy from Models1 as he is very much the model of the moment with his combination of distinctive tatts, groomed beard and distinctive features meaning that he has appeared in a plethora of campaigns globally. Styled by the wonderful Minna Attala, here are a few of my favorite photos from the shoot.

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And a couple I had a bit more of a play with in post production...

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Desmond Tutu by Adam Jacobs

It's mid July and the sun should be shining. Instead, it's grey, damp and pretty miserable outside. What better way to cheer myself up then digging through my archives and posting a picture of the most jovial man I've ever shot, the legend that is Desmond Tutu. His charisma and vivaciousness for life truly is infectious. 

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Andy Murray by Adam Jacobs

With the disappointment of defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray being eliminated at the quarter finals stage, I thought I'd trawl back through my archives and resurrect one of my favourite shots from when I was fortunate enough to photograph the British number one . He was such a top bloke, full of charisma, charm and not too shabby at tennis; definitely still got it in him to secure a couple more Grand Slams. Come on Andy!!! 

Two Hours In New York with the Fuji x100s by Adam Jacobs

Sometimes you just don't want to lug around a hefty SLR with you and recently while in New York I experimented shooting some street photography with the incredibly stylish Fuji x100s. However, this pocket powerhouse has more to it than just a retro shell and packs some impressive sensor technology behind its exterior. 

Veering away from my usual style of shooting landscapes (primarily HDRs) of large skylines and buildings and inspired by the blog Humans of New York, I took to the streets for a couple of hours and explored the Lower East and West Side to shoot some street photography...Cartier-Bresson style. 

It is always fun to set assignments and challenge yourself to shoot new things especially as the Fuji I was using had a fixed focal length lens of 35mm which, makes you really think about composition and framing on each and every shot. 

Below are a few of my favourites from some of the characters I met on my walk. 

The Abandoned St Agnes Church by Adam Jacobs

Continuing my Abandoned Spaces series, I recently visited St Agnes, a gothic and majestic church just outside downtown Detroit which has been abandoned since late 2006. 

Following its completion in the 1920s, the church quickly grew and by the mid fifties was the focal point of a thriving community serving approximately 1,600 families, three priests, 22 nuns and an adjacent girl's high schools with just under two hundred students. 

However, by the mid 1980s the LaSalle neighbourhood in which it sits, had become run down and dilapidated leaving the church with only 160 families worshiping at the space. Although a number of cost cutting measures were made to try and save the church, it was soon deemed impractical to keep it open and it was forced to close in 2006. Coincidentally, St Agnes once so splendid and grand, even hosted a sermon by Mother Theresa in the 1980s where she spoke to thousands; she even insisted that all food provided at the event be given to the poor.

As with so many of Detroit's ornate buildings since closing, scrappers have colonized the space removing all the valuable piping from the organ whilst precious glazed tiling from walls and pillars has been stripped away. On entering, I also noticed that weather and further vandalism has ripped away much of the facade as the floor literally crumbled under foot as I carefully explored the space with my cameras. As with all abandoned churches, it is somewhat creepy and a little eery to see places of worship in such a sad and sorry state.  

I hope my photographs do the space justify. I certainly feel that they are a worthwhile addition to my ongoing series which I hope to exhibit soon. 

The Entrance to St Agnes Church through the main double doors which are now padlocked shut. 

A view of the inside of St Agnes Church, Detroit where one can clearly see where the floor has broken up and valuable tiling stripped from the walls and pillars by scrappers. 

One solitary church pew remains in the abandoned St Agnes Church in Detroit, Michigan. 

I think this guy was a character from the Adams family; his face was tagged all over the abandoned church. 

A better view of the destruction and warping of the pillars inside the abandoned St Agnes Church, Detroit. Michigan. 

I love the way the light streamed through the huge church window which would have formerly been stained glass, illuminating the church pew. 

The stairs leading up/down to the balcony. 

A view from the balcony of the abandoned St Agnes Church in Detroit, Michigan showing the extent of the damage to the space.