The 'Kingdom of Dust' Photos Capture the Dark Side of American Agriculture

By: Rahul Kalvapalle - Aug 6, 2014
References: mattblack & featureshoot
Kingdom of Dust is a black-and-white photo series, captured by photographer Matt Black, that documents life in the agricultural communities of California's Central Valley. The vast farming region produces $20 billion in agricultural products, but is also home to industrial wasteland and neglected communities of migrant workers.

The name 'Kingdom of Dust' was inspired by the severe dust storms that frequent the region, hampering planting efforts and forcing families into unemployment and poverty. The workers are prone to heatstroke and death, while their families are vulnerable to drug addiction, gang violence and teenage pregnancies. Many of these workers are undocumented migrants from Mexico.

The black-and-white photos capture the fragility of the rugged landscape. However, they also depict scenes of simple contentment such as children playing, men bathing and teenagers hanging around by a lake.