Matt Black’s ongoing documentary project The Geography of Poverty has taken him from coast to coast, state to state. In 2016, during his third trip for the series, he passed through South Dakota, focussing in on the communities who live below the poverty line, exposing deep divides between America’s rich and poor. “Poverty is systemic,” Black says. “It’s deeply woven into American life, regardless of race, geography, or culture.” Pictured here, riders in Ziebach County, South Dakota, 2016.

The work of a photographer is to reveal hidden things

Matt Black
© Matt Black | Magnum Photos

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 The Geography of Poverty. 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.

© Matt Black | Magnum Photos

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