Throughout the ages, mankind has been fascinated by the ruins of previous societies. The desire to gain a greater understanding of our past has driven archaeologists, artists, and scholars from across the world to study the vestiges of lifestyles that have vanished in an attempt to capture their mystique and beauty.
Originally intended as an examination of the rise and fall of the state hospital system, Matthew Christopher’s Abandoned Americarapidly grew to encompass derelict factories and industrial sites, schools, churches, power plants, hospitals, prisons, military installations, hotels, resorts, homes, and more. Through his collection of writing and photography, Christopher has spent the last decade documenting the ruins of one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known: our own. Exploring sites like the charred remains of the Hotel Do De, the rusted cells of the Essex County Jail Annex, the sublime majesty of the Church of the Transfiguration, or the eerie and dilapidated remnants of the New Castle Elks Lodge, the work spans architectural treasures left to the elements and then all too often lost forever.
With 240 pages of beautiful photographs, a foreword by celebrated author James Howard Kunstler, and detailed historical background on each site, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences is sure to captivate anyone with an interest in the modern ruins in our midst.
“Matthew Christopher’s photographic record of decay depicts the tragic truth: that something extraordinary has ended and that nothing like it may ever come back. We’re now going in the other direction despite a lot of wishful thinking: toward a loss of complexity, a reduction in the scale of activity, a loss of artistry, and probably the end of many comforts, conveniences and amenities we’ve come to take for granted.”
James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere
“The places Christopher photographs tell their stories with silence and extraordinary light – the spaces between the life and death of a building. His pictures make me feel like someone told me a secret.”
Jane Derenowski, Reporter, NBC Nightly News
“It’s romantic, it’s nostalgic, it’s wistful, it’s provocative. It’s about time, nature, mortality, disinvestment.”
Joann Greco, The Atlantic Cities
“Through his photographs, Christopher makes a powerful statement about job loss, urban blight and historic preservation. In light of the collapse of American industry and the subsequent economic meltdown, the relevance of these topics has never been more important to the examination of America’s national identity.”
Joseph and Barrie Ann George, The Sentinel