For six years Matt Black has been photographing communities and lands in the U.S where at least 20% of the population live in poverty. Travelling 100,000 miles through the U.S, Black has set out to explore whether the American dream is still viable, debunking the myth of America as a land of opportunity. “From a ground level, America looks very different from the stories we like to tell ourselves,” he says.

The work of a photographer is to reveal hidden things.

Matt Black
Matt Black

Matt Black is from California’s Central Valley, an agricultural region in the heart of the state. His work has explored the connections between migration, poverty, agriculture, and the environment in his native rural California and in southern Mexico.

He has traveled over 100,000 miles across 46 U.S. states for his project American Geography. Other recent works include The Dry Land, about the impact of drought on California’s agricultural communities, and The Monster in the Mountains, about the disappearance of 43 students in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Both of these projects, accompanied by short films, were published by The New Yorker.

He received the W. Eugene Smith Award in 2015. In 2016, he received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and was named a Senior Fellow at the Emerson Collective. In 2018, he again received a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his work in Puerto Rico. His work has also been honored by the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Center for Cultural Innovation, and others.

Matt Black

Get Magnum news and updates directly to your inbox