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Robert Scott Hooper Photographs [UNPROCESSED] (PH-00459)

Abstract

This collection is unprocessed; see the access note for additional information. The Robert Scott Hooper Photographs (approximately 1960-2019) consist of photographic negatives, positives, prints, Polaroids, 16mm films, videos, business records, correspondence, drawings, and ephemera. The collection was created by prolific photographer Robert Scott Hooper and his longtime business partner and wife, Theresa Holmes. The couple's life and business was based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hooper's work focused on the female form, encompassing many areas of interest including sexual entertainment, modeling, pornography, and Las Vegas entertainment. Hooper was a contributing photographer with Playboy and Vegas Visitor magazines. Hooper also photographed many celebrities, Las Vegas production shows, notable events like hotel implosions, and the development of the Las Vegas Strip, including early time-lapse work on the Luxor Hotel and Casino and The Venetian. This collection also includes business records, model contracts, and correspondence.

Finding Aid PDF

Date

1960 to 2019

Extent

130.58 Cubic Feet (112 boxes)
112.33 Linear Feet

Related People/Corporations

Scope and Contents Note

This collection is unprocessed; see the access note for additional information. The Robert Scott Hooper Photographs (approximately 1960-2019) consist of photographic negatives, positives, prints, Polaroids, 16mm films, videos, business records, correspondence, drawings, and ephemera. The collection was created by prolific photographer Robert Scott Hooper and his longtime business partner and wife, Theresa Holmes. The couple's life and business was based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hooper's work focused on the female form, encompassing many areas of interest including sexual entertainment, modeling, pornography, and Las Vegas entertainment. Hooper was a contributing photographer with Playboy and Vegas Visitor magazines. Hooper also photographed many celebrities, Las Vegas production shows, notable events like hotel implosions, and the development of the Las Vegas Strip, including early time-lapse work on the Luxor Hotel and Casino and The Venetian. This collection also includes business records, model contracts, and correspondence.

Access Note

The materials in this collection are unprocessed. Advanced notice is required for access. Please contact Special Collections and Archives for more information.

Publication Rights

This material is protected by copyright. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. Commercial use of any portion of this material is prohibited. Contact the copyright owner, James Hooper, for more information.

Arrangement

Materials remain as they were received.

Biographical / Historical Note

Robert Scott Hooper, was an artist and photographer based in Las Vegas, Nevada who photographed diverse subjects over many decades. His work has been seen on the pages of newspapers and magazines worldwide, from Life to the cover of Playboy; featured on billboards, posters, postcards, phone cards and video game machines; and exhibited in galleries and private collections. He won numerous awards for his creations in graphic arts, commercial television production, advertising, print work, and even photographing a centerfold for Playboy.

Born in Iowa, Hooper was artistic from a young age. He first entered college to study architecture but left school and searched for a job as an artist, finally landing at a large midwestern printing company. While at the print company he joined the National Guard and ended up in the photograph division where he had the opportunity to learn photography. After five years as art director for the printing company, Hooper opened his own photography studio in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The studio prospered over the next few years, doing illustration and advertising photography, and Bob dreamed of being a Playboy photographer someday. When he was not photographing pretty Iowa girls, he pursued his other passion, road racing. After racing Corvettes at tracks around the midwest for several years, he decided to design and build his own car. The aerodynamically designed "Mongoose" went on to win several top races.

In 1966, Hooper closed his studio and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and took a job at the Review Journal as a photojournalist. He then went on to work at the Las Vegas News Bureau for about five years shooting hotels, events, shows, and entertainers. His photography attracted the attention of a local entertainment weekly publication, the Vegas Visitor, a weekly entertainment publication. They contracted Hooper to exclusively photograph the "cover girls" that would be on the front page of each issue from 1968 to 1984. In 1971, Hooper left the News Bureau and opened his own commercial studio in Las Vegas. His graphic art background became a valuable asset in that he was able to design the billboards and advertisements as well as shoot the photographs for his clients. His advertising contracts included show producers, entertainers, hotels, casinos and clubs.

Hooper went on to work for Playboy Magazine, first as a freelance photographer and then securing more steady work due to his successful first pitch for “Sex Education and the Automobile.” The ten page pictorial, which ran in May 1973, was a hit and gained the greatest reader response of any pictorial in the history of the magazine at the time. Hooper continued to work extensively for Playboy for the next decade, and his pictorials were some of the most popular and memorable that the magazine printed. He photographed Debra Jo Fondren, Playboy’s 1977 “Miss September”, who became the longest running centerfold and one of the most popular Playmates to date. Hooper's ability as a photojournalist led Playboy to send him on the road to do the "Sex In America" series. When they sent he and his longtime assistant and wife, Theresa Holmes, to cover a swingers convention in California, he returned with photographs and interviews that startled even the most liberal editors. They then sent Hooper's team to New York to cover the sex club phenomenon, resulting in a pictorial featuring Plato's Retreat which gained Hooper his second Playboy award for Best Pictorial Reportage in 1978. Their ability to find, interview, and photograph real people in real life intimate situations led Hooper and Holmes to be dubbed the "SWAT" team by the editors and sent on to do "Sex In Miami," "Sex In Chicago," "Couch Dancing," and "Phone Sex."

By 1983, along with publishing his own calendar "The Fabulous Girls of Las Vegas," Hooper decided to expand his talents to the world of video and motion pictures and began doing small video projects for clients. By the mid 80's the VCR and aids had affected the men's magazine business and Playboy was going through big changes. In 1986, after finishing the pictorial "The Girls of Magic" for Playboy, Hooper began in earnest to build a film production company. By producing local television commercials, sales films, and some Playboy Video products, Hooper learned the business and soon added music videos and his own line of R-rated productions to the company's projects. The company later added time-lapse into its repertoire, including the construction of the Luxor Hotel, Caesars Palace, and The Venetian.

Hooper passed away on December 4, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Theresa Holmes Hooper, his partner of over 50 years, passed away shortly after in February 2024.

Sources:

“R. Scott Hooper biography,” https://www.rscotthooper.com/frame.php?strt=bio. Accessed July 1, 2024.

Conversations with Hooper's son, James Hooper, at the time of collection pick up, June 2024.

Preferred Citation

Robert Scott Hooper Photographs [UNPROCESSED], approximately 1960 to 2019. PH-00459. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/f1tf69

Acquisition Note

Materials were donated by James Hooper, son of Robert Scott Hooper, in 2024; accession number 2024-079.

Processing Note

This collection is unprocessed. In 2024, Sarah Jones created the accession record and brief finding aid in ArchivesSpace.

Resource Type

Papers

Collection Type

EAD ID

US::NvLN::PH00459

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Aaron Mayes, Visual Materials Curator, as part of UNLV Special Collections and Archives' holdings on entertainment, Las Vegas history, and sexual entertainment and economies.

Finding Aid Description Rules

Describing Archives: A Content Standard
English