People of the Clouds: Photographs by Matt Black

Saints Day celebration, San Pedro Chayuco, Mexico

In the mountains of rural Mexico, photographer Matt Black documents the space between staying and going:  “Over the past decade, I have traveled a dozen times to the Mixteca, documenting how migration, environmental degradation, and cultural change are bleeding the life out of the deepest heart of rural Mexico. Named the “Place of the Cloud People” by the Aztecs and home to one of the oldest pre-Columbian cultures in the Americas, the Mixteca has lost over a quarter million people to migration, leaving scores of villages little more than ghost towns. This ongoing project, an extended inquiry into the sources and consequences of this migration, is both a document of what is being lost and a sketch of what lies ahead for one of the world’s last bastions of traditional indigenous life.”



Singing filk songs behind the Cathlic Church, Three Rocks, Calif.

“The Oaxacan Exodus”:

Hmong agricultural workers near Fresno: “Bitter Harvest”—

Matt Black’s photographs have been noted for their emotional engagement, social conviction, and visual intensity.

Matt grew up in California’s Central Valley, a vast agricultural area that is home to some of the poorest communities in the United States. He began taking photographs at a young age and worked as a newspaper photographer while in his teens. He went on to study Latin American and US Labor History at San Francisco State University, where he graduated with honors. After traveling in Mexico, Central and South America, he returned to the Central Valley and devoted his work to exploring the themes of migration, cultural change and social impact of changing rural economies.

Matt’s work has received grants and awards from the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the California Arts Council, Pictures of the Year International, the California Council for the Humanities, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, the Sunday Magazine Editors Association, Communication Arts, American Photography, Lightwork, and the Center for Photographic Projects. His work has also been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has received a Golden Eye award from the World Press Photo Foundation.

Abandoned restaurant, Fresno, Calif.

see also


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s