Matt-black

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Mapping the Geography of Poverty with @mattblack_blackmatt in California’s Central Valley

To see more scenes from the California Central Valley and learn more about The Geography of Poverty project, follow @mattblack_blackmatt on Instagram.

Photojournalist Matt Black (@mattblack_blackmatt) shares stark black and white images from the farmlands of California’s rural Central Valley, where he was born and raised.

“It just hasn’t seemed right for me to go to some far-flung place when there are so many stories and important things to do right around me,” he explains.

To convey the impact of years of drought and economic hardship, Matt launched the Geography of Poverty project on Instagram, where he weaves together a landscape of photos, census data and map coordinates.

“I’m trying to portray a certain environment, to build a world,” he continues. “The goal of the project is to quite literally put places on the map.”

As one of the founding members of EverydayUSA (@everydayusa), he now joins a dozen photographers who collaborate to share stories of life across the country. “Everyone is pursuing their own distinct thing,” says Matt, “but together the work is making a different sort of statement.”

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The prospects of comprehensive immigration reform look increasingly dim in Washington as U.S. Senate legislation encounters fierce resistance in the House

The debate over immigration reform looms large in California’s Central Valley, where farming is king. No industry relies more on immigrant labor (and wants to see immigration reform) more than agriculture.

Photographer Matt Black, a native of the Central Valley, has spent the past 15 years documenting the living and working conditions of farmworkers that make California the pantry of the United States.

See more of Black’s images on KPCC’s AudioVision.