For more than three decades, Jeff Scheid has been photographing Las Vegas. From chasing down the infamous Hole in the Wall Gang and Chicago mobster Tony “The Ant” Spilotro with his defense attorney Oscar Goodman as they walk defiantly out the doors of justice, to shooting the UNLV Running Rebels basketball team on the road to the National Championship to capturing some of the most famous celebrities on the Las Vegas Strip, Scheid has been there to tell the story of Las Vegas.
Scheid was born and raised in eastern Montana where the badlands met the prairie. His mother was the first journalist in the family covering the scene in a town of 1,000 people for a larger daily newspaper 40 miles away. She knew everybody in Terry, Montana, and heard everything that happened in those parts, including what her son did the night before long before he woke up in the morning.
Scheid’s first newspaper job was at a twice-weekly newspaper in Glendive, Montana. One of his first storytelling moments was a photo essay on a young rural boy who would bake cookies and then ride his bike a mile to sell his goods to oil workers drilling a well. The story was picked up by ABC’s Good Morning America, a very proud moment for that family.
After moving to Las Vegas in the early ’80s, Scheid’s first big Vegas story was covering the World Series of Poker at the Horseshoe Club, where the card room was thick with smoke , the poker players flashed rolls of $100 bills and their girlfriends were dolled up in diamonds and pearls.
“I’m a visual anthropologist photographing Nevada and Las Vegas, in one of the most dynamic places in the world,” Scheid says. “The mystique of Nevada is based on our photo history, images that pique curiosity and, frankly, could only happen here.”