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October 22, 2012

Matt Black's Mixteca

The Big Picture posted some of photographer Matt Black's images of the Mixteca in July of 2011. The pictures were part of an ongoing long-term documentary project on the region and its people. I included a link to Black's Kickstarter campaign, and Big Picture readers responded in force, helping fund another trip to the area. The pictures below are the result of that trip, and it seems only right to share them with the readers who helped make them possible. This time, Black focused on farmers dealing with the area's severe soil erosion. He writes, "Southern Mexico's Mixteca region is one of the most heavily eroded landscapes on earth: up to five meters of topsoil have been lost. In the town of Santiago Mitlatongo, soil loss triggered a geological phenomenon called "slumping." Like a slow-motion landslide, the town is sliding downhill at the rate of one meter per day, destroying homes and livelihoods as houses and farmland slip into the valley below." Interested readers can join Black in a web conference hosted by Orion Magazine tomorrow. -- Lane Turner (16 photos total)

A collapsing mountain sends rocks towards the village below. (Matt Black)

Houses drift downhill in a slow-motion landslide. (Matt Black) #

Residents remove possessions from their destroyed village. (Matt Black) #

Harvesting a wrecked corn field. (Matt Black) #

A family carries wheat from ruined land. (Matt Black) #

A boy climbs on his destroyed house. (Matt Black) #

A rainstorm dampens a family's makeshift shelter. (Matt Black) #

A boy inside his family's tin house. (Matt Black) #

Women resting at their shelter. (Matt Black) #

A family rests alongside a road. (Matt Black) #

Salvaging lumber from a destroyed house. (Matt Black) #

A boy walks home across a collapsing hillside. (Matt Black) #

A shepherd's dog in the hills above town. (Matt Black) #

Rocks litter an eroded farm field. (Matt Black) #

A woman surveys her damaged cornfield. (Matt Black) #

Cutting wheat from a cracked field. (Matt Black) #