The immediate impact of these photographs is undeniable: Outrageous oblivion. Everything torn apart, inside and out. Nothing spared. Nothing redeemed. You quickly draw your own conclusions despite what your more sober thoughts might tell you. This is a book about total destruction, along with numerous more measured considerations. “Abandoned America” takes you on a most unusual journey with this collection of photography by Matthew Christopher, published by JonGlez Publishing.
There’s a ghost within a ghost within a ghost to be searched for among the wreckage documented in “Abandoned America.” Where did the old American spirit fly off to? Boo! It’s not where it used to be in so many parts of the country. It’s gone. Lost. Never to come back. Packard Motor Car Company. Holmesburg Prison. Carrie Furnaces. The Church of the Transfiguration. The names and titles alone send up shivers. These are but some of the places that Matthew Christopher explored and investigated. Left in the hands of a ghost hunting television crew, you end up with a sideshow spectacle. But in the hands of an artist, you just might receive a far more haunting chill.
The rythme and the reason has been sucked out of these locations. They are no longer churches, prisons, banks, hotels, schools, the stuff of life and order. Now, all it is is shambles, if at that. Shambles, if at all. Of course, the photographs take on a life most unexpected from the silent death that posed for its picture. Nothing posed, really. But the photographs seem to pick up deadly character all the same. The camera can’t help itself. The artist explains and explains and explains. In the end, he knows it’s no use. He is drawn to what he is drawn to. He photographs. He documents. The work emerges. The subject is death. But the work comes to life.
“Abandoned America” opens up many questions and, with its moving portraits of ruins, inspires us all to contemplate what was and what might still be.
“Abandoned America” is a 240-page hardcover, published by JonGlez Publishing, and available as of December 7, 2014. Visit JohGlez Publishing right here.