Matt Black is from California’s Central Valley, a rural, agricultural area in the heart of the state. Since 2014, he has traveled over 100,000 miles across 46 states for his project American Geography, a personal portrait of an increasingly divided and unequal America. What emerged from Black’s travels is a new image of America itself, a national portrait of an increasingly divided and unequal America.
A member of Magnum Photos, Matt Black produces work that is grounded in the documentary tradition yet also noted for its deeply personal approach, its emotional engagement, and visual intensity in its portrayals of life in his native region and beyond. Excerpts from American Geography have been widely published and exhibited at home and internationally, and a book of the project is forthcoming in 2021 from Thames and Hudson, accompanied by a traveling exhibition opening at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg in October 2020 and the the International Center of Photography, New York in 2022. Other 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 these projects, accompanied by short films, were published by The New Yorker.
Portfolios of his work have appeared in The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, The California Sunday Magazine, as well as many international publications such as Le Monde in France and Internazionale in Italy. He has been honored three times by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Prize, has been named a senior fellow at the Emerson Collective, and was the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award in 2015 for Humanistic Photography. Black’s Instagram feed The Geography of Poverty has over 233,000 followers and growing, and earned him TIME’s Instagram Photographer of the Year in 2014,