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Matt Black March 31, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Migrant workers. Fresno, California

Matt Black (b. 1970, United States) is a documentary photographer whose work explores the themes of migration, agriculture and rural poverty.  His multi-year exploration of rural California has been widely honored, receiving grants and awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial.  His photographs have also been honored by Pictures of the Year International and by World Press Photo. His work has been published in The Nation, Camera Arts, Newsweek, Black and White Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine and Photo District News, among others. He lives in Lemon Cove, a small town in Central California.

About the Photograph:

“This photo was taken at about 4:30 in the morning in Fresno, California.  The workers, most of them undocumented Oaxacan immigrants, are being transported on a farm labor bus to pick raisin grapes, one of the most grueling of all farm labor jobs.  The bus journey through town took almost two hours:  some tried to continue sleeping, but they would be awakened each time a new group of workers boarded.  The man driving is their boss, a farm labor contractor.  He paid them 21 cents per bucket and then deducted six dollars a day for the bus ride and another six dollars for lunch.  Some workers would return home with less than 20 dollars after working a twelve hour day.”

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