Matthew Christopher has spent the past decade documenting the ruins of one of the greatest civilizations the world has known: our own. The Pennsylvania photographer catalogues abandoned structures in pictures and words, lending a haunting beauty to factories, theaters, churches, and prisons now vacant and left to the elements and vandals. They are places that once helped define communities’ identities.
Christopher, who features the images in his new book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences, discusses his work and its underlying importance. “I am dismayed,” he says, “at the prevailing blindness … that prizes a handful of nails or pottery fragments from an early colonial settlement but ignores sites that are still above ground and critical to preserving the accounts of accomplishments and missteps over the last century.”