Larry Sultan's The Valley is an elegant social doumentation. He depicts a portrait of a "typical" middle-high class lifestyle through the most private point of view: the interiors of private houses.
At the same time he documents the working days of a very peculiar type of professionals: actors and workers of the adult movie industry.
In my view the topic of this book is intimacy, interpreted in different ways. Sultan's pictures drive you into intimacy intended in its literary meaning (an intimate interaction between two people, involving also a sexual aspect), since they have taken on porno movie sets. But the accuracy with which Sultan explores the private interiors where the movies were shot makes you forget about physical intimacy, and consider its meaning of "privacy", making you wonder who ususally lives there, what they do, why they rented out their homes to an adult movie production company, etc. More than the actors performing on sofas and carpets, it is the perfection of Sultan's pictures, their extreme detail, the pureness of colours, the lighting, that makes them "pornographic", if this word is used to define something depicted in its extreme detail.
Nevertheless, Sultan is never detached from what he photographs, and his survey is also a trip into memories of his childhood spent in the Valley, and a tribute to people working in adult movies, usualy perceived as "dirty" an unspeakable, but that he shows us simply as people earning their living, in a way that is probably much more honest and "clean" than many others.