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.