Abandoned Psychiatric Hospitals Captured By Christopher Payne

Over the span of six years, photographer Christopher Payne traveled to 30 US states to visit seventy mental hospitals for his series ‘Asylum’.

Originally designed by renowned American architects, the buildings were already in decay when Payne came upon them, capturing their eerie atmosphere in his photographs. In his work, Payne – whose work we’ve featured previously – specializes in documentary photography. Speaking of the idea behind this project, he says: “From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, more than 250 institutions for the insane were built throughout the United States; by 1948 they housed over half a million patients. But over the next thirty years, with the introduction of psychotropic drugs and policy shifts toward community-based care, patient populations declined dramatically, leaving many of these massive buildings neglected and abandoned.”

"With the introduction of psychotropic drugs and policy shifts toward community-based care, patient populations declined dramatically, leaving many of these massive buildings neglected and abandoned."
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

All images © Christopher Payne

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