by Matt Black
Thames & Hudson
Just received Matt Black’s American Geography. WOW. It has been quite a while since I got so excited about a photography book.
How psyched? Enough to obsess about it and to drop everything to pen this quick review.
Here we have a set of brilliant images with great depth, bolstered by super intelligent editing and design by the venerable Yolanda Cuomo.
Starting from his home in Central Valley California, Black journeyed for five years across the USA documenting the sad state of the American economy.
So for all of us who are more familiar with the glitz we get bombarded daily on TV and on the silver screen, the other side exists and is probably growing.
It is not hard to be mesmerized by his images and be lost in the lush (matt) black. Enjoy his craft but please absorb his messages.
Some people who are more trendy would probably dismiss Black’s work as old-fashioned. Let them be. What’s good is good. There is no question here.
This is how poverty looks.
Of course I love the powerful images, but I want to take a moment to gush over the printing and the presentation.
A lesser photographer would have been afraid to mix squares and panoramic. A even lesser one who have panicked at the idea that collected objects can be turned into meaningful collages.
In my first two passes, I skimmed through the text but what I read so far tell me what a thoughtful reporter Black is.
I am tempted to say “Hurry with the next monograph” but I shall not.
I will wait. Patiently.