Creating images that double as fine art, Matt Black is mapping how poverty is a major problem today, now, this minute and every minute.
We know what poverty looks like: unpainted boards, empty windows and door frames, broken roofing. Or it could be sagging fences and telephone poles, or cracked pavement and graffiti-stained concrete walls. Or faded billboards and backlot signage with their ironic injunctions to “dream” or “save.” Or worn faces and bodies scarred by years of hard labor, want, and worry. Such stark, black and white images of abandonment and desolation have become the iconography of documentary photography. They also were a genuine artistic achievement and a major contribution to public life. If you doubt that, consider what it would have been to see only the sunny faces, gleaming suburbs, and beautiful vistas of commercial advertising.
Long-time Associated Press photographer, James A. Finley was inducted into the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame in a 2009 class that also included Bill Eppridge of National Geographic/Life Magazine/Sports Illustrated and Ival Lawhon Jr. of the St. Joseph News Press.