Matt Black grew up in a small town in California's Central Valley, a rural agricultural area in the heart of the state. He started photography at a young age and worked as a newspaper photographer while in his teens. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Latin American and US Labor History.
Matt's work has chronicled the decline of traditional farming life and the rise of its modern replacement in rural California and southern Mexico. Exploring the changing human relationship to land, food, farming, and community lies at the core of Matt's twin documentary projects The People of Clouds and The Kingdom of Dust.
Matt's photography has been noted for its visual intensity and emotional engagement. He has received honors from the World Press Photo Foundation, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, and others.
SELECTED ONLINE: LINKS AND PUBLICATIONS
• National Geographic: The Kingdom of Dust
www.nationalgeographic.com (June 14, 2014)
• Time Lightbox: The Geography of Poverty
www.time.com (April 4, 2014)
• The New Yorker Photo Booth The People of Clouds
www.newyorker.com (September 13, 2013)
• Esquire Russia: The Kingdom of Dust
www.esquire.ru (December 6, 2012)
• Boston Globe Big Picture: Matt Black's Mixteca
www.boston.com/bigpicture (September 29, 2012)
•Alexia Foundation: Interview with Matt Black
www.alexiafoundation.org (October 9, 2012)
•New York Times Lens Blog: Weighed Down by History, a Town Slides in Mexico
www.lens.blogs.nytimes.com (October 8, 2012)
•Time Lightbox: Eddie Adams Workshop Tribute
www.lightbox.time.com (October 3, 2012)
• Orion Magazine: After the Fall
www.orionmagazine.org (September 1, 2012)
• Private: International Review of Photographs: The Kingdom Of Dust
www.privatephotoreview.com (September 30, 2011)
• Shpilman Institute for Photography: The People of Clouds
www.thesip.org (September 29, 2011)
• Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Matt Black: San Miguel Cuevas – Das Sterbende Dorf
www.fractionmagazine.com (August 19, 2011)
• Fraction Magazine: Matt Black: People of Clouds
www.fractionmagazine.com (August 19, 2011)
• Shpilman Institute for Photography: Matt Black
www.thesip.org (August 7, 2011)
•Guernica Magazine: Matt Black: People of Clouds
www.guernicamag.com (July 1, 2011)
•The Boston Globe - The Big Picture: People of Clouds
www.boston.com/bigpicture (June 27, 2011)
•National Public Radio - The Picture Show: A Story of Ghost Towns and Great Migrations
www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow (June 24, 2011)
•New York Times Lens Blog: Modern Agonies in Ancient Mexican Villages
www.lens.blogs.nytimes.com (June 16, 2011)
•Prison Photography: Matt Black
www.prisonphotography.wordpress.com (June 13, 2011)
•RECIPROCITY FAILURE: Matt Black
www.reciprocity-failure.blogspot.com (June 6, 2011)
•L E N S C R A T C H: Matt Black
www.lenscratch.blogspot.com (June 1, 2011)
• 500 Photographers: Matt Black
http://500photographers.blogspot.com (May 16, 2011)
• Orion Magazine: Desiccated Dreams
www.orionmagazine.org (March 1, 2011)
• Good: The Central Valley Is a Dust Bowl
www.good.is.com (February 24, 2011)
• 7.7 Magazine: Matt Black: The Black Okies
www.7dot7.net (October 12, 2010)
• Verve: New Breed of Documentary Photographers: Matt Black
www.vervephoto.wordpress.com (March 31, 2010)
• SMOGRANCH: Matt Black: Photographer to Follow
www.smogranch.blogspot.com (May 15, 2009)
• Photographers Speak: Matt Black: A Commitment to Truth
www.photographyinterviews.blogspot.com (April 14, 2009)
• Blue Eyes Magazine: Matt Black: The Mixteca
www.blueeyesmagazine.com (January 5, 2007)
• The Los Angeles Times: A Lens on the Misery Amid Our Bounty
www.latimes.com (September 3, 2006)
• The Big Picture: Visual Metaphor, Documentary Photography and Matt Black
www.ddunleavy.typepad.com (April 20, 2005)
• San Francisco Chronicle: The Quiet Nobility of the Human Spirit
www.sfgate.com (October 17, 2003)
SELECTED PRINT: ARTICLES AND PUBLICATIONS
• BOOM: A Journal of California: The Black Okies, September, 2013.
• Amateur Photographer, (U.K.) Interview, January, 2013.
• Orion Magazine: After the Fall, September, 2012.
• PRIVATE: International Review of Photographs: The Kingdom of Dust, October, 2011.
• BOOM: A Journal of California: Cal-20, October, 2011.
• PHOTO Magazine: The Kingdom of Dust, March, 2011.
• Orion Magazine: Desiccated Dreams, March, 2011.
• American Photography 26: The Dispossession, June, 2010.
• Black and White Magazine: Spotlight, September, 2008.
• Los Angeles Times Magazine, photo essay: Dust to Dust, September 3, 2006.
• Contact Sheet, The Forgotten Black Okies, December, 2004.
• Camera Arts, The Forgotten Black Okies, October, 2003.
• Photo District News Photo Annual: The Black Okies, May, 2003.
• Alexia Foundation: Eyes on the World, March, 2006.
• San Francisco Chronicle: exhibition review, October 17, 2003.
• The Los Angeles Times, photo essay: The Black Okies, August 25-27, 2002.
• ZYZZYVA: Saroyan's Fresno, Spring, 2000.
• In This Land, exhibition catalog, 2000.
• Ronza (Japan), photo essay: The Hmong, August, 1999.
• West Magazine, photo essay: After the Freeze, June 20, 1999.
• Los Angeles Times Magazine, photo essay: City of Exiles, November 22, 1998.
• West Magazine, photo essay: A Shepherd's Life, December 1, 1996.
• Photo Metro, Central Valley portfolio, September 1996.
• West Magazine, photo essay: Homage to an Outlaw, January 7, 1996.
• Communication Arts, A Shepherd's Life, August, 1996
• Americas Magazine, photo essay: El Pocho, February 1994.
• Stories That Drive Change (Group) - 25CPW, New York, January, 2013.
• The Unseen (Group) - Columbia College, Chicago, November, 2012.
• Angkor Photo Festival (Projection) - Siem Reap, Cambodia, November, 2011.
• Pictures of the Year International (Group) - Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, June, 2010.
• Project 5 (Group) - Stephen Cohen Gallery, Los Angeles, February, 2010.
• Eyes on the World (Group) - traveling exhibition:
Charles University, Prague, October, 2009.
Faraday House, London, January-March, 2009.
FotoTrek Gallery, Istanbul, October 2008.
United Nations, New York, March-April, 2006.
Pingyao International Photography Festival, China, September, 2006.
• Digital Transitions (Group) - traveling exhibition:
Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, Syracuse, January-April, 2006.
Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery, New York, January-March, 2007.
• The Ashes of Eden (Individual) - San Francisco Exposure Gallery, October, 2003.
• In This Land (Individual) - traveling exhibition:
Merced County Courthouse Museum, April - May, 2000.
San Joaquin County Museum, June - August, 2000.
McHenry Museum, October - November, 2000.
Tulare Historical Museum, January - February, 2001.
Sutter County Community Museum, March - April, 2001.
Kern County Museum, April - May, 2001.
Fresno Art Museum, July - August, 2001.
• The San Joaquin Valley (Individual) - San Francisco State University, 1998.
• Laney College Art Gallery (Group) - Oakland, 1996.
• Photo Americas (Group) - Tulsa, 1996.
• SOMAR Gallery(Group) - San Francisco, 1995.
• World Press Photo (Group) - Amsterdam, 1994.
• University of Missouri (Group) - 1994.
• Eye Gallery (Group) - San Francisco, 1994.
• San Francisco State University Art Gallery(Group) - 1993.
• Lost Ways of Work (Individual) - Labor Archives, San Francisco State University, 1993.
AWARDS & HONORS
• Grant, Center for Cultural Innovation, Investing in Artists, 2013.
• Grant, National Press Photographers Association, Short Grant, 2013.
• Selected, American Photography 27, Best Pictures of the Year, 2012.
• Chosen, American Photography 28, Best Pictures of the Year, 2011.
• Nomination, Santa Fe Prize for Photography, 2011.
• Selected, American Photography 27, Best Pictures of the Year, 2010.
• Third Place, Photo-Essay, Pictures of the Year International, 2010.
• Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Photography, 2007.
• Grant, Alexia Foundation for World Peace and Cultural Understanding, 2003.
• Fellowship in Visual Arts, California Arts Council, 2003.
• Artist in Residence, Light Work, Syracuse, New York, 2003.
• Finalist, Pulitzer Prize, Feature Photography, 2003.
• Director's Award, Center for Photographic Projects, 2003.
• Grant, Rockefeller Foundation, 2000.
• Grant, National Endowment for the Arts, 1999.
• Grant, California Council for the Humanities, 1999.
• Award of Excellence, Communication Arts, 1996.
• Award of Excellence, Sunday Magazine Editors Association, 1996.
• First Place, Daily Life, World Press Photo Foundation, 1994.
SCREENINGS, PUBLIC LECTURES, INTERVIEWS, AND WORKSHOPS
• Lecture, Collaborations for Cause Conference, Portland, OR, April, 2013.
• Lecture, San Francisco Art Institute, Docuphoto, February, 2013.
• Screening and Lecture, Porterville College, California, February, 2013.
• Projection, Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, February, 2013.
• Lecture, Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Nevada City, CA, January 2013.
• Film Screening and Discussion, Fresno Art Museum, December, 2012.
• Interview, Radio Bilingue, December, 2012.
• Lecture, UC San Diego School of Visual Arts, November, 2011.
• Film Screening, Bascom Lodge, Adams. Mass., September, 2012.
• Interview, Orion Magazine Podcast Series, October, 2011.
• Workshop, Creative Digital Workshops, Fresno, October, 2011.
• Lecture, Spectrum Gallery, Fresno, April, 2011.
• Lecture, Fresno City College, April, 2011.
• Lecture, Academy of Art College, San Francisco, April, 2010.
• Conference, Failed State: Crisis & Renewal in California, Davis, April, 2010.
• Lecture, Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, September, 2009.
• Workshop, Julia Dean Photo Workshops, Los Angeles, September, 2007.
• Lecture, Brooks Institute School of Visual Journalism, Ventura, Calif., December, 2006.
• Lecture, Julia Dean Photo Workshops, Los Angeles, May, 2004.
• Conference, Great Valley Center, Sacramento, May, 2004.
• Lecture, Porterville College, California, April, 2004.
• Lecture, Pleasanton Public Library Speakers Series, February, 2004.
• Lecture, San Francisco Press Photographers Association, November, 2003.
• Lecture, Newhouse School of Communication, Syracuse University, June, 2003.
• Lecture, Fresno Art Museum Graphic Arts Council, July, 2001.
• Lecture, Merced County Courthouse Museum, April, 2000.
• Conference, California Farm Conference, Berkeley, November, 1999.
• Conference, New California Media Conference, San Francisco, May, 1999.
• Lecture, College of the Sequoias, November, 1999.
• Lecture, Fresno State University, December, 1998.
• Lecture, San Francisco State University, February, 1995.