Matt Black (photographer)

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Matt Black
Born 1970 (age 44–45)
Santa Maria, California USA
Education B.A., Latin American History
Alma mater San Francisco State University
Occupation Photographer

Matt Black (born 1970, Santa Maria, California) is an American documentary photographer whose work has focused on contemporary rural life in California and Mexico.

Black grew up in the town of Visalia, California, in the state's agricultural Central Valley. While attending high school, he worked as a photographer at the Tulare Advance-Register, later the Visalia Times-Delta, where he learned the black and white photojournalism style he has used throughout his career. He received a B.A. in Latin American History from San Francisco State University in 1995.[1] In the early 1990s, Black made several trips to Latin America, work that garnered him a World Press Photo Award.[2] His 1996 article, "Homage to an Outlaw", published by West Magazine, marked the beginning of his long form photojournalism focusing on rural life in the Central Valley.[3] Other major projects in the Central Valley include The Black Okies, for which he was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003[4] and From Dust to Dust, about indigenous Mexican migrants in California, for which he received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Domestic Photography in 2007.[5] In 1999, while working on a story about widespread unemployment in the Central Valley in the aftermath of a citrus freeze,[6] Black met a family from Oaxaca, Mexico, which introduced him to the story of indigenous Mixtec migrants. The following year, he traveled to the Mixteca region of southern Mexico, beginning his project The People of Clouds.[7] Again working in the extended photo-essay form, major stories from this project include The Face of the Mountain,[8] and After the Fall.[9]

In addition to still photography, Black has completed several short documentary films, including After the Fall,[10] and Harvest of Shadows.[11]

Black was named TIME Magazine Instagram Photographer of the Year 2014.[12]


  1. ^ "Syracuse University Magazine". Syracuse University Magazine. 
  2. ^ "World Press Photo". World Press Photo. 
  3. ^ "West Magazine". West Magazine. 
  4. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes". The Pulitzer Prizes. 
  5. ^ "RFK Center". RFK Center. 
  6. ^ "West Magazine". West Magazine. 
  7. ^ "The New Yorker". The New Yorker. 
  8. ^ "New York Times". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Orion Magazine". Orion Magazine. 
  10. ^ "Mountainfilm". Mountainfilm. 
  11. ^ "MSNBC". MSNBC. 
  12. ^ Laurent, Olivier (December 18, 2014), "Matt Black Is TIME’s Pick for Instagram Photographer of the Year 2014", TIME LightBox, archived from the original on January 14, 2015, retrieved January 14, 2015 

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