Photographs by Pamela Littky.
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2014. 144 pp., 67 color illustrations, 11¾x9½".
Vacancy is a multifaceted portrait of two towns that are as much rural desert communities as they are states of mind. While driving between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Pamela Littky was exposed to the small towns at either edge of Death Valley, the legendary region of the MojaveDesert that hosts the hottest and driest climate in the US. Anyone who has ever been there can tell you that there is little else on either side except for long, empty stretches of straight-line desert highway. But the Mojave’s harshest conditions have not deterred all living things. The towns that both claim the title of »Gateway to Death Valley« – Baker, California and Beatty, Nevada – are tight-knit communities of people who remain settled where most merely pass through. Littky found an America that is far from »frozen in time,« but entirely in its own cultural zone. Independent, hardy, and idiosyncratic, the people of these towns were ideal subjects for Littky to explore the heart of what seems like a big empty place, but may reflect back something important about the American experience today.
From domestic scenes to colorful bars, trailers to bingo halls and the always beautiful but unrelenting landscape, – Littky brings the everyday life of these communities to vivid relief.