Saturday, September 12, 2009

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent more than six years photographing abandoned asylums all across the United States and has captured that work in a book that will be published at the end of September titled Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals. The New Yorker has a slide show of a few images from the book including the one above. Asylum features an essay on asylums and the treatment of the mentally ill by the amazing Oliver Sacks.

There are also more beautiful photos of asylums on Christopher Payne's personal website. I just love this genre as the photos are stunning and thought-provoking; how did people live here? Were these places really conducive to better mental health or were they just ways to keep the mentally ill out of sight and out of mind?

An old favorite of mine is Shaun O'Boyle's pictures of of Northampton State Hospital. If you have favorite sites for asylum photos add them in the comments below.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I am sorry that I don't have any additional sights to add to your list. But I just felt the need to comment on those pictures. I looked through both sites. The pictures themselves are absolutely exquisite and send a chill straight to the bone.
Thank you for sharing them