“Framing Migrant Labor”─Matt Black, TIME’s Instagram Photographer of the Year, shows his work on the Central Valley at SRJC’s Agrella Gallery, lecture and reception on Monday, November 16
California photojournalist Matt Black was born in California’s Central Valley and lives there now, in the small town of Exeter. Some of his strongest work has been done within a 100-mile radius of his home. Working with a 35mm camera, he establishes a strong visual dialogue with the migrant workers in this drought-parched land, drawing us into the difficulties of their makeshift lives. Each shot is framed in such gorgeous natural light, with such care, that we feel his respect for their individual stories, their dignity, and for the land.
Santa Rosa Junior College’s Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery, will present “Framing Migrant Labor,” featuring 25 large images from Matt Black’s photo essay “From Clouds to Dust,” from November 12-December 10, 2015. In addition to Black’s photos, some 25 works by Sonoma County photographers Morrie Camhi, Otto Hagel, Hansel Mieth and Ernie Lowe will provide a look back at migrant labor from the 1930’s. 60’s and 70’s. The opening reception is Monday, November 16, from 4 to 6 PM and that same day, from noon to 1 PM, Black will talk on his documentary photography work at the campus’ Newman Auditorium as part of its Arts & Lectures series.
Matt Black’s work focuses on the themes of migration, agriculture, social inequality and the environment in his home country and in southern Mexico. Last year, he was named TIME’s Instagram Photographer of the Year (2014) and is a 2015 Nominee Member of the Magnum Photo Agency. He won the 2003 Alexia Professional Grant for his work “The Forgotten Black Okies: A Lost Journey into a Land of Broken Promises” which was named a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. In 1994, Black received an Alexia Student Award of Excellence for his project “The Transbay Terminal: San Francisco’s Destitute Gateway” which documented the homeless people who refuged themselves in San Francisco’s primary mass-transportation depot. In October 2015 he received the W. Eugene Smith Award in Humanistic Photography. He has been has been profiled in The New Yorker, National Geographic, Time and Slate. He just gave a workshop for prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop, considered the premiere photojournalism workshop. Right after his visit to Santa Rosa, Black, in high demand, jets off to Germany where he will be giving a workshop at Hamburg’s LFI (Leica Fotografie International) Workshop.
His current project “Geography of Poverty” in co-production with MSNBC, involves a cross-country trip where Black will stop in over 77 cities, documenting the plight of over 45 million people who live at the poverty level in the United States.
“To have Matt Black speak at our college and to have his work at the Agrella Art Gallery to share with our students and our community, is quite thrilling,” said Renata Breth, SRJC Photography faculty & gallery director. Breth first came across his work in his photo essay “The Dry Land” which appeared in The New Yorker (9.29.2014) and immediately applied for a major grant from the Randolph Newman Cultural Enrichment Endowment (of the SRJC Foundation) to bring the work to SRJC’s gallery where it could be seen by students and the community. “The photo essays speak without hesitation, in a direct, honest and sincere voice. The photos show poverty, drought and farm workers, revealing a shocking reality many of us are unaware of.”
The technology will be of interest too. All of Black’s photos appearing in the SRJC exhibit were taken with 35 mm film cameras, so they are from analog negatives. They are each gorgeously digitally printed on Museo Silver Rag paper, a fine archival paper, which resembles silver halide papers, with exceptional depth and detail.
Details: “Framing Migrant Labor” is November 12-December 10 at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery, located on the Santa Rosa campus on the first floor of the Frank P. Doyle Library, 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa. Phone: 707 527-4298. Gallery hours: 10 AM to 4 PM Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays and 1 PM to 4 PM Saturdays. CLOSED: Fridays and Sundays and All school holidays (including November 26th to 28th, 2015) and summer. Parking Permits ($4/day) are required for both Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses.)
Opening reception: Monday, November 16 from 4 to 6 PM.
Matt Black lecture: “Framing Migrant Labor” Monday, November 16, noon – 1PM, Newman Auditorium, Emeritus Hall, Santa Rosa Campus, SRJC (free to the public)
Gallery talk by Laura Larque and Andre Larque: “Historical Perspectives on Migrant Labor in California,” November 17, 2015, noon- 1 PM, Robert F. Agrella Gallery
Ernie Lowe lecture: “Photographing migrant labor in 1965” December 1, 2015, noon- 1PM, SRJC Petaluma Library – Connie Mahoney Reading Room, 12.1.2015
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