(All images by Abandoned America, reproduced with permission)
Matthew Christopher has been fascinated by abandoned places since childhood. But it wasn’t until researching the decline of the US state hospital system a decade ago that his passion for urban exploration was truly ignited.
Since then Matthew has completed an MFA in Fine Art Photography, lectured on abandoned spaces, appeared on NBC Nightly News and launched an acclaimed website – AbandonedAmerica.us – arguably one of the leading collections of abandonment images on the internet.
Abandoned America seeks to capture both the visual appeal and rich history of forgotten architecture before it is lost forever. The site advocates the rehabilitation of abandoned buildings wherever possible, by emphasizing the cultural importance of preservation.
Matthew writes on his website: “Abandoned America is committed to partnering with historical preservation organizations, site owners and communities to ensure that even when it is impossible to retain a historic structure, its unique characteristics, stories, and social impact are not forgotten.”
This isn’t merely an antidote to the prefabricated, cookie-cutter buildings of today. It’s a recognition that, while many great social institutions declined during the latter 20th century, others – such as asylums – must be remembered with caution, a dark footnote amid a time of innovation and progress.
These images offer an introduction and brief overview of Matthew’s work. When he’s not documenting abandoned places across the US, Matthew works as a commercial event, portrait and architectural photographer, tutoring in photography and photo editing. He’s also served as a location scout for films and a site preservation and security consultant.
As his website points out: “Abandoned America’s aim encompasses not only the historical and photographic cataloging of [forgotten] sites, but also on a larger scale a eulogy for the lost ways of life they represent”.
In addition to to his amazing photo library, Matthew has also created a series of striking 360 degree panoramas of some of the places he has explored. Be sure to check them out, and join Matthew as he explores more Abandoned America.