A View From Behind The Lens
October 29, 2015 • by Lauren Sasso
An interview with our exceptionally talented house photographer, Erik Kabik
Erik Kabik is a concert, celebrity, architectural & commercial photographer. Kabik is one of the longest running entertainment photographers in Las Vegas. He is the Director for Mediapunch in Vegas. He & his team provide house ‘wire’ photo services to Las Vegas PR firms & casino PR teams for their events, concerts, award shows and marketing and advertising needs. Kabik has been photographing concerts & celebrities since 1990 and has been based in Las Vegas since 1995. For more information, please visit www.erikkabik.com.
- Tell me about your history with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.
I started working at Hard Rock Hotel on opening night in 1995 as a busboy at Mr. Lucky’s and a bar back at the original Center Bar. I also served as a bar back for The Joint on opening night. I had aspirations to be a photographer at The Joint, but I briefly left to go back to Oregon to finish my college degree in photojournalism. I then returned to Vegas and started shooting at The Joint in 1996, while working for What’s On Magazine.
I shot at Hard Rock Hotel on assignments until 2000 when the stock photo agency I co-founded, Las Vegas Stock, became my primary focus. I returned to regularly shooting at Hard Rock Hotel in 2006 and I became the official house photographer in 2007. It's been an amazing experience and relationship and it just feels like home to me.
- What is your favorite moment captured at REHAB this past season?
Justin Bieber taking my camera and shooting his own photos was the most surreal and memorable moment, that would probably be something I’d talk about if I wrote a book or something. He snapped a bunch of photos on my camera…I haven’t done anything with them because I don’t know the legalities – but I have numerous photos that are credited to him.
I had a lot of fun at REHAB this summer. Kesha was definitely one of the most visually interesting performers with the flags, glitter, dancing characters and all.
- What has been your favorite band you’ve shot at The Joint?
Paul McCartney is the first person that pops into my head. When the new Joint opened in 2009, he was one of the first performers, among the Killers, Kenny Chesney and Bon Jovi. Just to be able to capture photos of a Beatle… as a rock fan, it doesn’t get much better than that. As far as historical, incredible moments… when Lil Wayne got out of jail and ran out on stage to surprise fans at Drake’s concert– that was a huge moment for The Joint I thought, as far as modern music and pop culture moments.
- Who in the photography field inspires you & why?
Neal Preston, who is actually highlighted at the Hard Rock Hotel on some of the walls. He is definitely someone that when I was a little kid, I was looking at his photos. He was a role model for how to be a rock photographer. Why? I was a huge KISS fan when I was a little kid and he shot KISS back in the ‘70s. So I saw his KISS photos and thought the photos were the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
Then as I got older, I got into Led Zeppelin – I saw his Zeppelin photos in Rolling Stone. He was kind of with me throughout my maturity in music. He is just a great photographer and a super nice guy – he’s definitely a guy that I’m inspired by.
- You not only shoot entertainment on property – we have some amazing food shots credited to you. What is your favorite restaurant/item on property?
35 Steaks + Martinis is my favorite restaurant, it is definitely a hidden gem. After I shoot a show I’ll often go in and have a nice glass of wine and steak. Everything is always perfect there – great service, great food.