I’ve written about the two photo shoots that I had out in the Nevada desert with models during my recent trip to Las Vegas. Those photo sessions happened on Tuesday and Thursday, but the day in between was a busy one for me, too, as I got together with my friend Terrell “Big T” Neasley.
I look forward to my visits with Terrell, and it’s another reason why I like visiting Las Vegas. We normally meet for breakfast at a particular chain restaurant close to where I stay, but as our plans were to take us past where he lives, I thought it better that I drive down to him this time, so we met at another branch of that restaurant closer to where he lives.
After chowing down there, we headed out to do some location scouting. Living in the Las Vegas area, Terrell has had many more opportunities to look for good spots for photography, but with my limited time there, the best I can sometimes do is look on a map and wonder where a road leads. This time we set out to go to a spot on the map next to the Colorado river, driving there via a road I had never taken before.
It was an interesting drive, and the spot on the river was nice, with Terrell deciding to go in for a swim sans costume. I’m posting some pictures of Big T standing in the chilly waters of the river before he went in deeper. I got a few photos of him after doing that, but trust me, we don’t want to go there. (Well, at least not until I develop the film that I shot of him with my Holga!)
We still had some time, so Terrell suggested we go to visit the new bridge recently opened that crosses in front of Hoover Dam. I convinced him that we should go somewhere else (though on the flight home my plane flew right over Hoover Dam, and as I had a window seat on that side, I got a great aerial view of both the dam and the new bridge).
The place where we next rode off to was the general location where I had made what Terrell still considers to be the greatest photograph ever made: my 2006 photograph of Carlotta Champagne draped languidly over a rock in the Nevada desert. (See above. Read his blog here to confirm what he thinks about it.) Indeed, I do consider this to be one of my ‘signature’ images.
Still, that photo was made five years ago, and it’s been that long since I was in the more specific area where I remember the photo being made.
We trekked around this red rock area a bit, as I tried to retrace my steps from five years past. Did I find the rock in that Carlotta was lying on? We may have, but I’m not sure. The big problem was that the 2006 photo was made early in the morning, and Terrell and I were there in the late afternoon, when the sun shines down from the other half of the sky and what was in the shade in the morning is now in direct sunlight, looking almost totally different.
I’m posting a photo of Terrell lying on the rock in question, along with the photo of Carlotta. You can try to decide yourself whether it’s a match. (To be honest, I was a little surprised that he would stretch out on that rock, as it would seem that it might be his photographic equivalent of the Burning Bush, and be a bit sacreligeous to do so.)
Actually, I really should also have made a photo of this spot with a wider angle of view when I was there this time. You can see the other photograph of Carlotta in the same spot taken with a wider view (also above), and I believe that I identified those columns of rock on the left side of the photo. Only the edge is visible in the Terrell photo on the left.
So, if I really want to try to find this spot, I guess I’ll just have to go back in the morning some time – hopefully to photograph another model, if not in the exact same spot. Terrell and I went to some other spots nearby where I had made some other photos even further back in time, and it is a bit strange revisiting a place where you’d worked before, trying to find the exact spot where an older photo had been made.
I guess I had a bit of the same feeling two years ago in Florence, Italy, when I stayed not only in the same small hotel I’d stayed in 19 years earlier, but in the very same room, too.
"The one that got away was how big???"
Post Script 1: After having prepared this blog post, I was able to take the time to look over the two top photos in detail, and after doing so, I can say with complete certainty that the rock upon which Terrell is lying is indeed Carlotta Rock. The forces of time and nature, however, appear to have possibly eroded part of it away.
Post Script 2: I have now developed all of the film that I shot on this trip to Nevada – including, of course, the roll of Terrell standing sans costume in the Colorado River. While it will be quite some time until I can file, scan and post these photos, as I first need to file all 23 rolls of film from my trip to Vietnam (which will take some time), I think I can safely say this: those fans out there of my friend Big T are in for a real treat! 😉