Las Vegas has a rich history and for more than 65 years, the Las Vegas News Bureau has been there documenting the places and faces that helped shape Las Vegas into the city it is today.
As part of its efforts to market Las Vegas as a tourism destination after World War II, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce created the News Bureau. Its mission was to make Las Vegas a household name. The bureau’s photographers devoted a lot of time to three specific types of photos: hometown shots, “cheesecake” photos, and images of entertainment and entertainers.
Vegas has always been a premier wedding destination, and back in the 1940s and 50s when couples came to exchange vows, the News Bureau would be on hand to send their wedding photo back to their hometown paper. This not only benefitted the couple who could share their good news with their friends back home, it also helped Vegas create a reputation as the place to get married. In addition to sending the wedding photos back home, they also spent time snapping photos of guests at the resort swimming pools. Because most Americans did not have swimming pools, they wanted to capture images of average Americans enjoying themselves at a resort pool to showcase some of Vegas’ unique features. The bureau also sent “cheesecake” photos to the media markets across the country. These pictures of attractive young women in swimsuits or alluring costumes were intended to capture readers’ attention and were always captioned with a Las Vegas dateline. Finally, the resort hotels often called on the bureau photographers to take and distribute pictures of entertainers who were performing in their showrooms and lounges to newspapers from New York to Los Angeles.
Over the years, the News Bureau has amassed one of the largest photographic and video collections showcasing the history of Las Vegas. The archive includes superstar entertainers and sports figures, world-class concerts and special events, and the ever-changing skyline. Classic images include “Miss Atomic Bomb” and the classic “Floating Craps Game” shot at the Sands in 1953, as well as video of Elvis Presley, Liberace, the Rat Pack and other Las Vegas icons (there are even a few of yours truly!)
Today, The News Bureau captures photos and video of special events, entertainment, attractions, resorts and hotels in Las Vegas, and imagery of the Southern Nevada destinations of Laughlin, Mesquite and Boulder City. The News Bureau shares their collection of archival images with the public through a variety of community exhibitions.
One of the newest exhibits on display is from a photographer who worked with the Las Vegas News Bureau for 20 years, Brian Jones. In a series of images titled “Re-Visualizing Las Vegas” Jones has brought a new perspective to many of the timeless black-and-white images by using modern digital techniques and applying vibrant colors and soft pastels to capture the period in time.
In addition to “Re-Visualizing Vegas” at the Foley Federal Building, “The Golden Age of Glam” at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and “The Las Vegas Showgirl” at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the Grand Lobby and Central Hall corridors are also exhibits from the Las Vegas News Bureau that are definitely worth a visit!
“Vegas Re-Visualized” will be on display until Sept. 28, 2015, at the Foley Federal Building at 300 S. Las Vegas Blvd. All of the exhibitions are free to the public and can be seen during normal business hours.
To stay up to date on the latest news and exhibits from the Las Vegas News Bureau, visit LVCVA.com, and of course I encourage you to join me in the Las Vegas Host Committee! Anyone from the community can become a member, visit our website www.lvcva.com/host or e-mail our office at