Matt Black's work explores the connections between migration, poverty, agriculture, and the environment in his native rural California and in southern Mexico. In 2015 he was nominated by Magnum Photos and received the W. Eugene Smith Award. In 2016, he received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and was named a Senior Fellow at the Emerson Collective. His work has also been honored by the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and others.
In the summer of 2015 Black embarked on a cross-country trip to explore, document, and spark discussion about contemporary poverty and growing income inequality in the US. The result is a digital documentary project titled the Geography of Poverty which collects images and data from over one hundred communities across 44 states. The project combines geotagged photographs with census data and seeks to focus attention on America’s poorest places, highlighting the country’s widening gap between the rich and poor. Following a preplanned route across southern and northern portions of the United States, the project seeks to cross the country without crossing the poverty line, profiling cities and towns large and small, rural and urban, across a diverse range of US communities and regions, each touching on a distinct issues surrounding poverty.
The displayed image is a photograph from El Paso, TX, where out of the 649,121 people 21.5% live below the poverty level.