Where He's Calling From: American Geography by Matt Black
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while: American Geography, by Matt Black.
For West Coast photographer Matt Black, American Geography is the culmination of 6 years of work, 100,000 miles of travel (frequently on Greyhound buses), through 46 states. It’s a study of poverty in America, landscapes and portraits depicting the people and places failed by ‘the American Dream.’
It’s a gorgeous book. The printing (of the images, as well as of the book itself) is an astonishment. I don’t think I’ve ever seen richer, deeper blacks on the printed page. This is no accident, of course. In and of itself, it is a means of storytelling.
Beyond the abundant powers of observation found in the images, notes from Black’s road notebook show his obvious gift for storytelling. His bone-grey sentences, and his talent for careful, understated scrutiny bring-to-mind the milieu of Raymond Carver. Here you will find the forgotten, the lost, the invisible, given means of articulation.
Is it greedy to wish for more than the 97 selected images? Perhaps. I would have been happy to read on, and given the remarkable sacrifices made to complete such a journey, you have to imagine that amongst other things, this is has been a work of brutal editing. The result will surely become a landmark work.