Classic Americana in Las Vegas

When Ryan Shorosky graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2014, he decided to drive an 18-wheeler around the country for a year, photographing truck drivers along the way. That was when he first went to Las Vegas.He returned there once a month over the course of that year.

On his latest trip, in May, Mr. Shorosky wanted to capture the variety of people who work in Las Vegas, especially those with unconventional jobs. “In other cities you might work as a barista, but in Vegas really strange opportunities exist for people that live there,” he said. He saw these two women outside the Bellagio hotel. The woman on the left has a tattoo covering most of her thigh. “There is a dichotomy that exists in Vegas where, from afar, things kind of look like they’re meant to be, but when you dig in closer, you figure out that there are a lot more layers to the people or the place,” the photographer said.

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“I had this idea on my first day about exploring the iconic things of Vegas — Elvis, of course, being one of those things,” Mr. Shorosky said. Not that everything in Las Vegas is as it appears.Zach Brewer, shown above, is not a professional Elvis impersonator. He and a friend, visiting from Houston, were part of a bridal party and decided to dress up. “He was in costume and just drinking a lot,” the photographer said.

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Toni James has been a figure in the Las Vegas drag scene for 30 years. “No matter where I went or who I talked to, everyone knew who Toni James was,” the photographer said. He first met Mr. James at the Double Down Saloon, a dive bar where locals hang out, and decided to photograph him there. “He was in this punk bar bathroom putting his makeup on and getting ready,” Mr. Shorosky said.

CreditRyan Shorosky for The New York Times

Mr. Shorosky met Marrion and Marlon Amos at First Fridays, a monthly art festival where people bring their wares to sell. He was drawn to their sense of style. “I think Vegas is just enough removed as a culture that you are able to explore yourself,” he said. “These two brothers were a perfect example of that.”

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Jace Thorstenson, 14, competes in national junior rodeos. This time he was in a doubles roping competition at the Little Britches Rodeo, which took place a half-hour southwest of the city. “He had the mannerisms and character of someone who could have been in his 40s,” the photographer said. “I wanted to capture that facade of adolescents who are growing up in an environment where you’re expected to be a lot older than you are.”

CreditRyan Shorosky for The New York Times

This photo was taken in Paradise Palms, a midcentury modern-style community that hasn’t changed much since the ’60s. “In the past couple of years, it has had an influx of younger people, so you have these 30-year-olds sort of pushing the historic relevance of this area,” Mr. Shorosky said. Here, from left, are Jaede Mansfield, Denise Heximer and Jasmin Rodriguez, all vintage enthusiasts. “It’s sort of a fascinating idea to try to relive that aura of classic Vegas,” he said.

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Michelle Kolnik, a.k.a. D.J. Cryki, at the First Friday art fair, where she sells vintage clothes.

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The photographer met Elia Lucio, who works as an exotic dancer, walking around Fremont Street. “She grew up in Vegas, basically in and out of homelessness,” he said. “She supports herself fully in what she does and takes a lot of pride in the fact she can support herself.”

CreditRyan Shorosky for The New York Times

Mike Ogden at the Little Britches rodeo just outside of Las Vegas. Mr. Ogden, a cowboy from Utah, had provided some of the animals for the competitions.

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CreditRyan Shorosky for The New York Times

The photographer saw these professional Santas, who were vacationing together in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget casino. One wore a shirt reading, “I survived anorexia.”

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This photo was taken in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, a mountain range outside Las Vegas that attracts tourists like this German couple. They were there with a group of motorcyclists doing a cross-country road trip. Mr. Shorosky was attracted to their vests covered in patches. “It’s sort of a right of passage for motorcyclists to wear emblems,” he said.

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Bobi Jo Marie dresses to embody the classic American cowgirl. “Las Vegas is a place where you can become whatever archetype you like,” Mr. Shorosky said. “There is a lot of room to be something else.”

CreditRyan Shorosky for The New York Times

Jesse Garon, a professional Elvis, and his pink Cadillac with a license plate that reads “VGELVS.” He was outside the Little White Wedding Chapel, where you can get married on the fly.

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