Today, the term “muse” is the creative inspiration behind many artists, poets and photographers. In history, the muse was the person, mostly a woman that was captivated by the artist in creating the most immortal pieces of artwork. But it doesn’t have to be a person, what if the muse is a place?
Jonathan Yeo once said that there is nothing wrong in making art about women. However the word “muse” should be banned. It has no place in 21st century and it can be anything else. An artist’s inspiration doesn’t have to come from a person. Jonathan believes that it is time to lock this silly word away, or move away from its original meaning.
There are plenty of examples with the muse as being a place. For example, the artists from Singapore revealed their local inspiration, the city itself. They love what their city offers. From vast greenery to colonial architecture, from mere water droplets to people, whatever the subject of the art is. Have you ever stopped one moment and looked at a place from the eyes of an artist?
The Least Known Muse
Casino places are the least known muses in photography. Most of the pictures shoot at a casino is for presentation purposes, weddings and so on. However, casinos can also offer art exhibitions, Bellagio from Las Vegas being more popular in that area. Besides Bellagio, Borgata Hotel & Casino is also known in the world of art exhibitions. In addition, an example of such casino featuring “art exhibition” in Europe is the Casino of Ibiza.
Jaime de Sousa Guedes Pacheco, a less known photographer from Portugal, used to work in studios as a photographer and also as a correspondent for various publications. But, one of the most memorable aspects of the works of this photographer was the testimony of the streets, the landscapes, and the everyday historical events caught by his camera. One of his remarkable photographs gave us an image of the old city of Vigo, from the old Berbes area to incessant activity of the port, from the demolished landscapes of Beiramar to the old Calle del Principe. Pacheco has shot with his camera the first cars that were circulating throughout the city, factories, old casinos and cafes and many other places found in Vigo of 20th century.
The list could continue with Begona Zubero, known for her best series that feature casinos and gas stations in Armenia, called “Cas & Gas”. Her aesthetics is based on putting documentations at the service of memory towards an inspection of each historical event. The product is caught halfway between documentary and architectural photography.
Unfortunately, we don’t really see popular photographs/artists that have in their portfolios a casino. Most of the unknown photographs that choose photography as a hobby, post their work on websites like DeviantArt, Pinterest and others.
The most iconic casino photography is done on Casino Constanta. Many photographers choose to take a trip just to get a shot of the abandoned building. The casino is popular among photographers because it can give a glimpse of what was the atmosphere back in its time. Casino Constanta was once considered the Monte Carlo of Romania.
Speaking of Monte Carlo, the casino found in Monaco is a popular muse for the fashion industry and films. There is no other casino more grand and more famous than the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco. Usually cameras are forbidden inside the casino, but some photographers were able to gain access. One of these photographers is Eric Gaillard, who recently gained access to document the casino.
Eric Gaillard said on his personal blog that he was surprised about the interior decoration of the casino. He stated that the casino was lavish and he is privileged to witness such a private world with codes and particularities. The casino is an “belle epoque” style and it is the centerpiece of Monaco.
On the left side of the casino complex, is the Cafe de Paris, which is a popular spot for drinks. And on the right side, we can find the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo, an ornate hotel that opened at the same time with the casino, in 1863. The Casino de Monte Carlo is a place to see and to be seen.
Once the casino opens its doors, valents are seen dashing in and out of Ferraris, Bentleys and other exotic European cars. The Casino de Monte Carlo is known for its association with James Bond. The building’s architecture is Beaux Arts and it was an inspiration for the novelist Ian Fleming’s casino in his first Bond novel, Casino Royale.
Eric Gaillard was able to shoot even the casino’s public and private rooms. He mentioned that the rooms have lavish decoration with paintings, sculptures and heavy golden accents. Even the bar is a work of art.
The casino offers a range of European and American games, like roulette, blackjack, and craps. Like any other casino, there are plenty of slot machines. However, taking a photo at slot machines is allowed on very rare occasions, like portrait photography projects and similar.
The land-based casino could be an opportunity to learn the basics of photography while also serve as inspiration for the design of online casinos, such as the Admiral Casino, in order to capture the feel and experience of what it’s like to be in a casino.
Many novice photographers choose to do Photography Workshops where other experienced photographers teach the idea of capturing the details. The details can range from doors textures to stone or buildings texture. It’s nice to learn & capture these details in order to create a photo that has an aesthetic composition, which will serve in a better eye training to capture other places and people.