Stark Geotagged Photos Shed Light on American Poverty

Photographer Matt Black is using Instagram to put poverty on the map.

by Nathaniel Ainley
Oct 18 2015, 12:30pm

Fence post. Allensworth, CA. 2014. Images courtesy the Anastasia Photo Gallery

Is it possible that geotagging has a greater purpose than proving to your followers that you went to the MOMA this past weekend? Time Magazine’s 2014 Instagram Photographer of the Year, Matt Black wields the power of the geotag to chart poverty-stricken communities scattered across the US in his second show at the Anastasia Photo Gallery, The Geography of Poverty.

The photo series began on Black’s Instagram in areas around his home in California’s Central Valley, where living conditions rival those in developing nations. This past June, Black set off on a three-month journey to the four corners the US, snapping pictures of over 70 towns and communities that all share one thing in common: 20% of their residents fall below the poverty line. “From the staggering hunger and food insecurity in the South west to the ‘Cancer Valley’ of Louisiana,” according to the show’s press release, “the project sought to put these marginalized communities on the map and chart this unseen scope of poverty in rural America.”

Check out some images from the show below:

Burning tires. Corcoran, CA. 2015

Warehouse district. El Paso, TX. 2015


A photo posted by Matt Black (@mattblack_blackmatt) on


A photo posted by Matt Black (@mattblack_blackmatt) on


A photo posted by Matt Black (@mattblack_blackmatt) on


A photo posted by Matt Black (@mattblack_blackmatt) on

The Geography of Poverty has been picked up by the Magnum Foundation, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Black’s journey this year was also covered by MSNBC, in an extensive four part report that you can check out here. His show is on display at Anastasia until November 1, 2015. For more from Matt Black visit his website.


When Wildfire Photography Goes Wrong

Pictorialism: The Movement that Birthed Modern Photography

Aura Photography Brings Occult Art Back To NYC

Snapshots of the Future of Photography

“Black and White”
photo series
Matt Black
anastasia photo
the geography of poverty