When Magnum photographer Matt Black began exploring his hometown in California’s rural Central Valley—dubbed “the other California,” where one-third of the population lives in poverty—he knew what his next project had to be. Black was inspired to create a vivid portrait of an unknown America, to photograph some of the poorest communities across the US. Traveling across forty-six states and Puerto Rico, Black visited designated “poverty areas,” places with a poverty rate above 20 percent, and found that poverty areas are so numerous that they’re never more than a two-hour’s drive apart, woven through the fabric of the country but cut off from “the land of opportunity.” American Geography is a visual record of this five-year, 100,000-mile road trip, which chronicles the vulnerable conditions faced by America’s poor.
This compelling compilation of black-and-white photographs is accompanied by Black’s own travelogue—a collection of observations, overheard conversations in cafeés and public transportation, diner menus, bus timetables, historical facts, and snippets from daily news reports. A future classic of photography, this monograph is supported by an international touring exhibition and is a must-have for anyone with an interest in witnessing the reality of an America that’s been excluded from the American Dream.