Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dark Arts ~ Matthew Christopher: Abandoned America

Chances are, you've already seen some of Matthew Christopher's photography.  He's been featured on multiple television stations, newspapers, as well as online both here in the states and abroad and his work has been displayed in galleries across the US. 

I've chosen to highlight him for this month's Dark Arts because his photography has such a mournful, moody tone that it was perfect for this particular feature.  That, and I wanted everyone to experience the stunning images he produces, give readers a chance to check out his work and let them know where you can see more.

The stunning photographs below show but a mere smidgeon of his talent in capturing the essence of what we have lost.  From hulking edifices to desolate factories to long forgotten theaters and neglected churches, the derelict buildings and spaces that he photographs evoke feelings of sadness, desperation, melancholy and finally, fascination. 

Every picture tells a story and in this case, these tales and photos emerge as a tribute to the abandoned factories, churches, asylums, hotels, and other long-forgotten locations of interest.  All of these places were once thriving, engaging places of business, faith, learning, healing and entertainment.  Gone.  But still holding on to a different kind of beauty, an almost bewitching allure that you won't be able to look away from. A rotting stairwell holds an inexplicable appeal.  The dangling light fixtures in an burned out opera house force us to take a second look. Dilapidated prison walls make us wonder who once lived within its boundaries.

With the release of his new book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences, Christopher has chosen some of his best work to feature within the pages of this captivating tome.  Thirty sites are featured and with words and more importantly, pictures, we learn of times gone by and the negligence, carelessness, and sometimes flat-out disregard for the past.  As the world spins dizzily out of control and is always trying to better itself, we lose pieces  (and many times whole chunks) of history when things are left to ruin.  Seemingly serving no purpose anymore, once-booming factories are left to rot.  Movie palaces are replaced with multiplexes, leaving the grand theaters of old to simply fade away.  Bigger, better churches are built - or conversely, a congregation falls apart and the church is left in its wake. State hospitals and asylums are shut down and abandoned, leaving the ghosts of long ago to echo through empty halls.

After perusing the following photos, I urge you to purchase Matthew's book. It is a wonderful yet frightening look at what this country has become.  What we have forgotten.  What we have carelessly neglected. What we have lost.  What we can never recover.

Undisclosed church

Trolley graveyard

Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Philadelphia

Holley Brothers Clothing Factory

Algonquin River State Hospital

Galilec Steel administrative offices

Kohl's Motorcycle Salvage, NY

undisclosed location

Boston Psychopathic Hospital

Mayview State Hospital, PA

Essex County Jail Annex

New Castle Elks Lodge, PA

Northeast High School

Setting Sun Retirement Home

Woodland Sanctuary Development Center

Hershey Chocolate Factory

The Garman Theater and Hotel, Bellefonte, PA

Packard Motor Company, Detroit, MI

H. Richardson Marine Salvage Yard

Shawnee Lancaster Resort

Matthew Christopher online:

Matthew Christopher on Facebook:

Buy:   Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences

Editor's note:  
*Thanks to Matthew Christopher for allowing me the use of these images.  Much appreciated!/ch

1 comment:

David J Delaney said...

Love Abandoned America, photo's are so eerie and great for inspiring horror