PDN Photo of the Day

Gateways to Death Valley

“Perhaps it was the dramatically macabre title—the Gateway to Death Valley—that sparked my curiosity. I found myself wanting to explore these small towns and observe the kind of people who would live in the middle of nowhere where temperatures hold at 120 degrees for several months of the year, where the nearest grocery store was 45 minutes away, and where there is seemingly nothing doing.”  – Pamela Littky

In March 2009, Los Angeles-based commercial and editorial photographer Pamela Littky was en route to Las Vegas for a photo shoot when she discovered Baker, California. Wanting to know more about the town who promotes itself as the “gateway” to the desert, she began her investigation. Later that year she discovered Beatty, Nevada, a town with the same claim-to-fame. Her curiosity spun into a four-year project documenting the people and characteristics of off-the-grid towns. The long-term project, Vacancy (Kehrer Verlag, September 2014), “reveals two communities populated by hardy, idiosyncratic individuals that stick together and persevere against all odds,” says the publisher. “The book reveals a way of life that seems to defy how the rest of the increasingly fast-paced urbanized country operates.”

A book launch and signing for Vacancy will take place at Arcana: Books on the Arts in Culver City, CA, on Friday, September 19 from 7-9pm.



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  1. Dear Ms. Littky,

    A very nice presentation indeed. I found it to be a real attention grabber, especially the portraits. You have given me some ideas to pursue in my own photography, thank you.


  2. On my recent trip to Death Valley and the Mojave Desert I was amazed at how people, and many young people, work in Death Valley. One young woman who worked at the Mojave desert information center told us she was about 30 minutes from home and we all wondered why she could living. The whole region is just such a great experience, especially for photographers.

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