This New Years was one to remember… Like one of those once in a lifetime, why am I… of all people in the world… here right now moments. I received a call from a friend and former co-worker of mine Jennifer Jordan Day, who is working for a production company called Katalyst Films, which was founded by Ashton Kutcher. Katalyst’s business model has evolved from film production to consulting that helps companies with social media tactics by incorporating video and photographic elements into those worlds. That whole thing about Ashton beating CNN to 1 Million twitter followers…. yeah, that was a Katalyst campaign, and how much PR did Ashton get for that? A TON…
So anyways, Jennifer asked, “What are your plans for New Years?” At that time my plan was to house sit for friend and fellow photographer, Joey Chandler, and then go home and sit on my couch and watch the countdown… well I would have figured something out, but at that time, my New Years was a blank slate. Jennifer said she needed a photographer to cover a party, and the red carpet for The Cosmopolitan’s social media pages… “we’ll fly you out for two nights and pay you to photograph celebrities” Ha, okaaay! Im in!
Two days later I was on a flight to Las Vegas. For those of you who are not familiar with the Cosmopolitan Hotel, its a brand spankin sweet new hotel in the City Center area of the Las Vegas strip, right next to the Bellagio actually. Upon arriving at the hotel the first thing you see is a three story chandelier containing 2 MILLION crystals, encompassing a trifecta of bars for your celebratory spirit. The styling is said to have an upscale, young, and modern New York feel… while being very hands on. Unlike the Bellagio where you walk in and everything is look but dont touch, the Cosmopolitan slaps massive pieces of art in the middle of walkways and almost encourages you to get your hands on it… Take a photo, sit on it, enjoy, and experience it, not just look at it. The parking garage walls are lined with the graffiti of some of the most well known graffiti artists in the world, and there is a artist residency program allowing individuals to take up a room in the hotel while they create works of art that later go on display. The retail stores are totally reasonable (CRSVR had dress shirts for $20! What! in Vegas? $20!) and the restaurants are totally catered for a crowd that is young and adventurous (can you say Kobe Beef Burger, duck fat french fries, and a milk shake menue at Holsteins that will kick your pre-game into high gear!). When you walk in as a twenty something its like the whole hotel is saying… welcome to your playground… we accept you… we love you… we want you to stay!
Okay time for work… I had the pleasure of working with Miiko Mentz and David Scherer who both run the Twitter and Facebook pages for the hotel. Both were suuuper accommodating and allowed me to tag along through the hallways as we tackled our assignments. Thursday I was responsible for covering a cocktail party attended by many of the hotels executive staff as well as a few celebrity figures. The Chandelier bar made for a perfect backdrop for this event and afterwards I was able to weasel my way into Marquee, the crazy new night club sportin a $3M stage and a sound system that will make your heart palpitate out of rhythm. There I saw Florence and the Machine do her thing, followed by a siiiiiick set from DJ Vice. Yes… I danced, not knowing anyone else in the entire joint, till 3:30 in the morning. It was awesome.
Friday night was the big show… Jay-Z and Coldplay were in the house (hollerrrr!) and a list of celebrities were strutting their stuff. My job was to photograph the red carpet so that the images could go up on the Facebook and Twitter pages the following day. Photographing the red carpet is a funny experience… people come out, often times the photographers are scrambling to figure out who everyone is, interviews are conducted, and photos are taken. I realized that the key to this type of a photo session is to get your subjects sole attention and get them looking at YOUR camera, not the other 42 cameras on the line. There was a lot of, “over here!” “to your left!” “One to the right!” commentary from the photographers and much to my surprise, and for the most part, everyone obliged quite nicely. Wait… You mean, I can tell a celebrity what to do and they actually do it!?!? Sweet! Ha, at least thats what it felt like. The red carpet was a little bit of a drawn out experience though. Its not like everyone just shows up all at once and then you are done… we all stood there for 5 hours before we felt we had photographed everyone that was going to arrive. By that point it was 11:45 PM and Coldplay was already on stage inside the big show. Time to get a move on!
I spent the next hour making friends with randoms in the hotel… Apparently rocking a massive camera in a hotel on NYE is a good way to make friends as I was dubbed everyone’s personal party photographer for the night… After I made my social rounds, it was off to edit images with Miiko in the marketing office till 4:00AM. Late night, but toootally worth it!
Check out the Cosmopolitan twitter and facebook pages. Both offer content appealing to young trend setters around the world, and not just jargain about the hotel. Pretty cool take on Social Media coming from a Las Vegas hotel!