Lonely Planet Writer

New photography book showcases abandoned America in all its glory

A new book has been released that features unique images of abandoned locations across the United States of America. The collection contains beautiful pictures of a variety of different sites such as derelict houses, run down theatres, former schools and forgotten ships.

Fort Pitt Casting, McKeesport, PA.
Fort Pitt Casting, McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Image by Matthew Christopher
Fallside Inn, Niagara Falls, New York.
Fallside Inn, Niagara Falls, New York. Image by Matthew Christopher
SS United States, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
SS United States, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The book, called Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream, showcases the work of photographer Matthew Christopher who spent the last few years travelling and documenting diverse sites all over the country. It contains 150 photographs of 14 diverse locations, showing worlds forgotten by society. It also contains a selection of essays that offer historical context and information on the chosen locations.

City Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana.
City Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana. Image by Matthew Christopher
Catskill Game Farm, Catskill, New York.
Catskill Game Farm, Catskill, New York. Image by Matthew Christopher
Taunton State Hospital, Taunon, Massachusetts.
Taunton State Hospital, Taunton, Massachusetts. Image by Matthew Christopher

The photographer first started visiting abandoned sites ten years ago, with the idea of researching the decline of state hospitals across the country. Since then, Matthew Christopher’s work has expanded to include infrastructure sites such as schools, churches, prisons, resorts, hotels and theatres.

Long Beach, Connecticut.
Long Beach, Connecticut. Image by Matthew Christopher
Variety Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio.
Variety Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio. Image by Matthew Christopher
Vulture City, Arizona.
Vulture City, Arizona. Image by Matthew Christopher

“The interesting thing about abandoned places is that they show us a side of our culture we may not otherwise get to see. The sites in my book were chosen so as not to only tell a one-sided story, some places may have had tragic pasts and should have been saved rather than destroyed, but others are being reused and re-imagined in ways that may transform their communities in the process,” Matthew told Lonely Planet News.

Catskill Game Farm, Catskill, New York.
Catskill Game Farm, Catskill, New York. Image by Matthew Christopher
Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Image by Matthew Christopher
Randall Park Mall, North Randall, Ohio.
Randall Park Mall, North Randall, Ohio. Image by Matthew Christopher

The collection includes pictures of the SS United States, a derelict ocean liner moored in Philadelphia that was once the fastest passenger ship ever built, the Victory Theatre in Massachusetts, Randall Park Mall in Ohio, Catskill Game Farm in New York and Vulture City in Arizona, a ghost town that was built around a gold mine.

Palace Theatre, Gary, Indiana.
Palace Theatre, Gary, Indiana. Image by Matthew Christopher
Forest Haven, Laurel, Maryland.
Forest Haven, Laurel, Maryland. Image by Matthew Christopher
Lee Plaza, Detroit, Michigan.
Lee Plaza, Detroit, Michigan. Image by Matthew Christopher

“What I have found is that so many people have personal connections or interests in these places. It changes the experience so much to know you’re not peering into the darkness alone, and that when your eyes adjust you can really learn a lot about who we are,” Matthew said.

SS United States, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
SS United States, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Image by Matthew Christopher
Randall Park Mall, North Randall, Ohio.
Randall Park Mall, North Randall, Ohio. Image by Matthew Christopher
Victory Theatre, Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Victory Theatre, Holyoke, Massachusetts. Image by Matthew Christopher

More information on Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream is available at Matthew’s website.