Abandoned America: Photographing a forgotten history

Photographing abandoned spaces has gained a reputation to some as a voyeuristic act, with little respect paid to the subject or its history. But for Matthew Christopher, it's much more than 'ruin porn.' He runs Abandoned America, and his interest in photographing abandoned structures started a decade ago with an asylum in Philadelphia. Working at mental health facilities, he calls exploring Philadelphia State Hospital a life-changing experience. He picked up photography and started keeping a record of the places he visited at Abandoned America.

He tells Resource Travel 'If there was one thing I’d hope to achieve, I suppose it would be encouraging people to see abandoned spaces not as eyesores but as the treasures they sometimes are.' He's also aware of the often sad stories behind the buildings he enters, and encourages those looking to follow in his footsteps to do two things: 'be careful and be respectful... just because these places are abandoned, doesn’t mean that nobody cares about them or that it’s OK to loot or vandalize them. Leave them as you found them.'