Christopher Payne‘s Squarespace website
Buffalo State Hospital, Buffalo, New York
With a background in architecture, New York City-based photographer Christopher Payne is drawn to abandoned buildings, neglected structures that jointly disclose forgotten chapters of America’s storied past.
Payne’s fascination with the antiquated and disused began with his documentation of the city’s outmoded manual subway systems, to which he was afforded unlimited access. In recent years, he has chronicled spaces ranging from the pervasive and once densely populated asylums of the 1800s and early 1900s to the eroded landscape of North Brother Island, where in the latter part of the 1800s, citizens afflicted with infectious diseases were quarantined from the remainder of the city. In his shadowy, evocative frames, America’s past becomes a mythical place, one that is both acutely fantastical and undeniably real. Here, the photographer illuminates the mysterious and haunting remnants of our shared history, playing the dual part of the detective and the preservationist.
In his more recent projects, Payne has turned his gaze towards contemporary America by capturing the inner workings of Astoria’s historic Steinway piano factory as well as New England’s older textile mills as compared with North and South Carolina’s more state-of-the-art factories. We spoke with the artist about his interest in both deserted and sustained industries and why he chose Squarespace to build his site.