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Born in 1970, Matt Black is an American photographer who has devoted his career to the documentation of migration, poverty and environmental devastation.
This 2014 photograph is from Black’s series American Geography. For the ongoing project, Black has travelled to poor areas in 44 US states, documenting communities whose poverty rates are above 20 percent to highlight the increasing levels of inequality in one of the richest countries on Earth. This image was taken in Tulare County, California, the wealthiest state in America. However, in Tulare itself, 27 percent of people live below the poverty line, a markedly higher number than the national average of 13 percent.
The extent of Black’s travels are integral to the project itself, as a way to demonstrate the vast scale of the issue. After his work in California, he wanted to use his photography to communicate the fact that poverty is not just a problem in his home state, but a nationwide concern that desperately needs to be addressed. “The intention is to cast as broad a net as possible,” he has said. “Poverty is systemic – it’s not an anomaly, which is typically how it’s presented. It’s deeply woven into American life, regardless of race, geography, or culture.”