Matt Black: Exploring Poverty in Mexico Through Photography

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TACOMA, Washington — Photography is a special kind of art that allows people to view what goes on globally with a snapshot. A single shot can spark a call for activism. Famous California born photographer and journalist Matt Black documents poverty wherever he goes, provoking activism with his photography that brings awareness to impoverished communities in countries like Mexico.

Poverty in Mexico

In 2018, roughly 42% of people in Mexico lived in poverty, making up 52 million impoverished people. Living in poverty makes it challenging for people to access necessary resources like food and water. Moreover, impoverished areas in Mexico have less access to education, health care treatment centers and job opportunities.

Vulnerable populations in Mexico are expected to suffer due to the novel coronavirus that has left millions unemployed and without funds for rent and food. As of 2020, Mexico has yet to create an unemployment insurance plan for its people; leaving people affected by the virus in greater need of assistance.

Matt Black and his Photography

Matt Black is a California born photographer who explores California and Mexico through his photography. His project “People of Clouds” includes photos listed with cities and notes on what’s taking place. Photographs showcase difficult living conditions impoverished communities in Mexico face in towns like El Ciruelo, San Miguel Cuevas and Santiago Mitlatongo.

One of Blacks’ photographs is entitled, “Digging for a drink in a dry riverbed” in El Ciruelo, Mexico. More than 129 million people live in Mexico, and 11 million people lack access to quality sanitation. Additionally, 904,000 people lack access to clean and drinkable water. Matts photography brings awareness to the impoverished people’s struggle for clean, quality water.

Another piece of work that Black produced is called, “A boy inside his family’s tin home,” which was taken in Santiago Mitlatongo, Mexico. The poor housing conditions that the young boy lived in brought awareness to the more than 59.8 million Mexicans who do not live in suitable homes. According to Habit in Humanity, over one million households in Mexico are made from inferior materials like cardboard and plastic. In Mexico, more than seven million houses are built from metals like tin.

Photography, Activism and Social Change

Photographs are known to show us how the world is without using words. Using photography to showcase poverty impacts and increase awareness by allowing people worldwide to see how impoverished communities in different countries suffer. Photography contributes to social change, and Matt Black’s work showcases the hardships people in Mexico go through when living in impoverished areas. Photographs show how men, children and adults all suffer from difficult circumstances. With various platforms, including his Instagram account with over 230,00 followers, Matt Black’s photography journalism brings awareness to critical global crises. Photojournalists like Black who document the world are needed so that people worldwide can see what goes on outside of their own lives and help others.

—Amanda Cruz
Photo: Flickr

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