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Greg Rook | Stratosphere

Aug 18th - Sep 24th 2023

A true Southern California native, I love our culture, character, architecture, perfect weather, and the amazing light that pours over everything, allowing me at the right time and place to capture and reveal the extraordinary from the otherwise ordinary, from subject matter that would likely otherwise be overlooked and unseen.

The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest most visible structure in Las Vegas and one of its most iconic landmarks.  More than thirty-five million people a year visit Las Vegas to get away, to experience this city as if for some kind of shock therapy; gaming and nightlife for some and swaying poolside palms for others. All will likely see the Stratosphere Tower some time in their visit.

The Stratosphere Tower was finished in 1996. Only three years prior a local construction project revealed the ten-thousand-year-old remains of an Ice-Age mammoth. Only seventy-five miles away, in the 1950s, there was above-ground nuclear testing. Las Vegas sits in a sweltering heat basin, increasing the heat index with more concrete in every new construction project, further intensifying the prospect of self-destruction. And like many America’s cities Las Vegas faces rising homelessness and crime.

If one wants to discover more of Las Vegas, if a visitor would care to leave the temporal distortion of the casinos without clocks or windows, there is another very real side to this city. Plain enough, the photographs in this series do not depict the heavily marketed and most often perceived glamourous destination side of Vegas. And except as a point of reference, each of these photos do include the Stratosphere Tower, but they are not really about it. They ignore the pretense and imitation Las Vegas marketers would prefer to project about Las Vegas, instead offering a very real point-of-view of some of what can be found in the city surrounding the towering landmark.

Stratosphere 05
Stratosphere 20

300 South Thomas Street
Pomona, CA 91766

Stratosphere 09
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