Christina Stetson is fascinated with America's interior. She frequently leaves her home in Oakland, California, and travels inward, across desolate landscapes, to dusty towns, and into the lives of the people there.
The Russian-born photographer came to the states when she was eight, eventually landing in central Florida. Growing up poor, she developed an outsider's fascination with Americana, which she credits for her professional interest in these once-prosperous hamlets. "There are communities all across America that have been left behind when industry and resources died down," Stetson said in an email interview. "Advancements in technology have rendered people's livelihoods obsolete."
Beatty, Nevada | (Christina Stetson)
It was while she was an artist-in-residence at Nevada's Goldwell Open Air Museum that Stetson found Beatty, Nevada — a Gold Rush town that struggled after the mining jobs disappeared. "The story of Beatty is similar to stories of a lot of American towns and cities," she said. "It's a town where time stopped moving about 60 years ago." But Stetson spent enough time in Beatty to see that it was more than just a relic.
"Any day of the week, you can pop into the Sourdough Saloon and find locals intermingling with tourists from all over the world, who found an oasis in Beatty in their travels to Death Valley or Las Vegas," she said. "It's a real treat if you get to chat with one of the Beatty cowboys."
Stetson's photos show the quiet, rugged beauty of Beatty and its people. Have a look: