The Kingdom of Dust

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Words by Billie Jenkins Image courtesy of Matt Black

California’s Central Valley was once a huge body of water, but now it is the largest area of farmland in the world. The size of over ten U.S. states, it produces over $20 billion dollars worth of industry and provides nearly half of America’s fresh food supply. The lives of the workers, specifically the migrant workers, tending to and cultivating the land and its produce, is a stark juxtaposition to that grandeur. Matt Black describes it as the poverty of the urban in rural conditions. His series of photographs The Kingdom of Dust captures the social issues those living and working in the Central Valley must come to terms with. They are beautiful, they are damning of the way we as a society allow people to live for our own gains of cheap consumption. They highlight the poverty we turn a blind eye to in the face of immigration, as many of the migrant farm workers earn less than $10,000 annually.

 

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