Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Christopher Payne: Asylum

Christopher Payne is an NYC based artist trained as an architect but pursuing photography. I stumbled upon his collection Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hosptials and found the works haunting, vulnerable, tangible, and joyful in their colors. What do you think?

Buffalo State Hospital, New York

Bridge to Infirmary Ward, Taunton State Hospital, MA

Hall with Chairs, Taunton State Hospital, MA

Mead Building Lobby, Yankton State Hospital, South Dakota

Linen Closets, Traverse City Hospital, Michigan

Patient Toothbrushes, Hudson River State Hospital, New York

Bathtub, Fairfield State Hospital, Connecticut

Gurney, South Carolina State Hospital, South Carolina

Stairwell, Harlem Valley State Hospital, New York

Patient Suitcases, Bolivar State Hospital, Tennessee

File Boxes, Spring Grove State Hospital, Maryland

Matteawan State Hospital, Beacon, New York

Courtyard Gazebo, Concord State Hospital, New Hampshire

Slaughterhouse, Broughton State Hospital, North Carolina

Sheet Metal Forms, Willard State Hospital, New York

Electroencephalograph Machine, Clarinda State Hospital, Iowa

Beauty Salon, Trenton State Hospital, New Jersey

Bowling Shoes, Rockland State Hospital, New York

Autopsy Theater, St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C.

Casket and Grave Markers, St. Lawrence State Hospital, New York

Unclaimed Cremation Urns, Oregon State Hospital, Oregon

Cemetery, Connecticut Valley State Hospital, Connecticut.

I think it's poignant that he begins the series with the entering of the hospital, then daily life, and concludes with various death arenas. I also find it interesting that these are hospitals all across the US but they share similar qualities.

It took Payne seven years to put together this collection and as you can see the images are from a variety of institutions including two from the DC/MD area. This series is available in his new book with the same title as the collection.

You can view his work here.

*All images courtesy of Payne's website.



  1. i loooooove these! especially the toothbrushes and unclaimed cremation urns. chilling.

  2. This is great. I really love looking at these photos but they all make me really anxious.


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