Matt Black’s “Kingdom of Dust”: Drought in California’s Central Valley

social documentary photographers - Matt Black

Entering year four of what has been the worst drought in its history, the state of California has recently enacted new water restrictions to grapple with record low waterfall and unprecedented heat. One of the drought’s hardest-hit areas is California’s Central Valley, where an anticipated million acres of farmland will be left uncultivated and water supplies are quickly drying up.

Matt Black (one of the well known social documentary photographers), a Central Valley native, has worked throughout the drought photographing the communities near the hardest-hit areas. Kingdom of Dust is his document to the valley’s disappearing farming empire. In a colluvial black-and-white grain, his images plainly capture the faces, homes, and stretches of land that seem near ruin. He works with an unsettlingly bare eye, letting the drought reveal itself in the havoc of losing home and land.

social documentary photographers - Kingdom of Dust

social documentary photographers - valley’s disappearing

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perfectly clear featured plugin

The Perfectly Clear Plug-in by Athentech

perfectly clear lightroom - perfectly clear featured

Perfectly Clear Lightroom and Photoshop plugin by Athentech Imaging, autocorrects your photos. It first scans your photo, then uses a patented algorithm to decide what kind of adjustments need to be made. Noise will be removed, red-eye will be detected and obliterated, exposure will be adjusted, images will be sharpened, and white balance will be perfected. All of this happens instantly right after you open the plugin. There’s no need to make manual adjustments (unless you want to).

That sounds spectacular, but if you’re like me, you’re probably skeptical about any program that claims that it automatically fixes everything. You don’t shoot in “auto mode” with your DSLR, so why should you edit in “auto mode” in post-processing. Does the program actually deliver good results?

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