Time Magazine Instagram Photographer of 2014 puts lens on impoverished California region

time magazine instagram photographer 2014 puts lens impoverished california region matt black
Instagram isn’t just about selfies and celebrities. It is a legitimate venue for photography, too. Time Magazine has started recognizing Instagram photographers who have been using the photo sharing site as a powerful medium to display their work. And for 2014 the publication named documentary photographer Matt Black as its Instagram Photographer of the Year for his work documenting the poverty in California’s Central Valley.

Black joined Instagram in December 2013 for an easy place to showcase his work, which depicts the grisly conditions of California’s agricultural region. Farmers there are facing one of the most severe droughts in California history, and the region is also one of the poorest in the nation. Black grew up in the Central Valley, and told Time that it is “this kind of vast unknown zone” that rarely gets attention. He had ambitions of permanently leaving where he grew up to pursue a photography career, but he had something to say about the conditions of his home; he realized he could do both.

His work, “Geography Of Poverty,” can be seen on his Instagram feed and standalone website. The photos are in black and white, and mostly depict buildings and items that are rundown or falling apart, with some portraits of residents – dead animal bones or a homeless man washing his face, for example.

The photographer explained to Time that there is only one reason he is on Instagram: the mapping function. You can geotag your pictures on Instagram using coordinates, which adds realism to his project. Users can see the abysmal conditions in the photograph, then actually locate where these abysmal conditions are in relation to them. He also appreciates the ability to comment on his pictures, saying that doing long-form projects were too restricting in telling the story. With comments and responses to his pictures, he can react and correct.

Black uses a mixture of his iPhone and a Sony Cyber-shot RX100 camera to take pictures. He admits that some might call him out for using something other than his smartphone, but explained that he made sure to be upfront since the beginning, hoping that “if you’re upfront about it, then you’re not cheating.”

Last year’s recipient, David Guttenfelder, was recognized for his photos of North Korea.

Social Media

Instagram to make giving easier with a Stories donation sticker for fundraisers

Instagram is preparing to launch a donation feature within Stories that would allow users to raise cash for a range of nonprofit charities. The company confirmed it's aiming to launch the donation sticker later this year.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Computing

The Surface Pro 6 is a minimalist update on the best tablet 2-in-1

The Surface Pro 6 is officially here, though it's not as big of a redesign as you might have hoped. With a new coat of black paint and an 8th-gen processor, it's a small, but notable update.
Social Media

Instagram test reveals direct messages may be coming to browsers

Instagram for the web has always been a minimalist affair compared to the feature-rich smartphone app, but in the last few years that's started to change. The latest news is that Instagram is considering adding direct messages.
Photography

Olympus packs an enormous zoom ability in its latest interchangeable lens

The Olympus Digital ED M.Zuiko 12-200mm F/3.5-6.3 has the widest zoom range of any interchangeable lens with a 16.6x zoom. The lens, which covers a 24-400mm equivalent, is also weather sealed.
Photography

Nikon brings a classic workhorse lens to the Z series with new 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The Nikon Z series finally has a bright zoom available without an adapter. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S offers new coatings and more customizable controls in a smaller, lighter body than the comparable F-mount lens.
Product Review

Canon democratizes full-frame with the EOS RP, but keep your expectations low

At just $1,300, the RP is Canon's least expensive full-frame camera yet, but it was born into a world of high-end, high-cost lenses where it doesn't yet feel at home.
Photography

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.
Photography

Fujifilm’s X-T30 is a semi-pro, feature-rich camera that’s affordable to boot

Fujifilm's newest mirrorless camera delivers the premium features of the X-T3 without the premium price, giving aspiring enthusiasts a lower-cost option that can still match the image quality of Fuji's flagship.
Photography

Fujifilm XP140 squeezes more durability, low-light ability into a waterproof cam

Fujifilm's waterproof compact can now head even further underwater. The Fujifilm XP140 features several upgrades, including a more durable body, a wider ISO range for low light, and expanded auto modes.
Photography

From f/1.2 primes to the mysterious DS, here are Canon’s upcoming RF lenses

Canon's EOS R mirrorless series will gain six new lenses this year. Canon just shared a list of six lenses under development, including four zooms and two prime lenses. One has a mysterious new feature called Defocus Smoothing.
Photography

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…
Mobile

OnePlus 6T vs. Honor View 20: We compare the cameras in these ‘flagship killers’

For less than $600, you can buy either the OnePlus 6T or the Honor View 20, two extremely capable smartphones with plenty of exciting features. But which one has the best camera? We found out on a recent trip to France.
Photography

Photography news: Wacom’s slimmer pen, Leica’s cinema special edition

In this week's photography news, Wacom launches a new slimmer pen for pro users. Leica's upcoming M10-P is designed for cinema, inside and out, with built-in cinema modes in the updated software.