BIO

Christopher Payne specializes in architectural photography and the large format documentation of America's industrial heritage. Trained as an architect, he is fascinated by design, assembly, and the built form. His first book, New York’s Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002), offered dramatic, rare views of the behemoth machines that are hidden behind modest facades in New York City. His second book, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals (MIT Press, 2009), which includes an essay by the renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks, was the result of a seven-year survey of America’s vast and largely shuttered state mental institutions. Payne’s new book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City (Fordham University Press, 2014), explores an uninhabited island of ruins in the East River. Payne’s photographs invoke the former grandeur of the site over different seasons, capturing hints of buried streets and infrastructure now reclaimed by nature, while also providing a unique glimpse into a city’s future without people.

Payne’s recent work, including a series in progress on the American textile industry, has veered away from the documentation of the obsolete towards a celebration of craftsmanship and small-scale manufacturing that are persevering in the face of global competition and evolutions in industrial processes. Just completed is Making Steinway: An American Workplace, a tour through the famous Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria, Queens. Here a team of skilled workers creates exquisite instruments considered to be some of the finest in the world. Payne captures moments of the choreographies of production, and inspects the parts and pieces of the instruments that will never be visible outside of the factory, telling a story of intricacy, precision, and care he fears is becoming all too rare in the American workplace.

Payne has been awarded grants from the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work has been featured in publications around the world and several times in special presentations by the New York Times Magazine.

EDUCATION
University of Pennsylvania, M. Arch., 1996
Columbia University, B.A. in Arch., 1990

BOOKS
Making Steinway (Steinway & Sons/Benrubi Gallery, 2016)
North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City (Fordham University Press, 2014)
Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals (MIT Press, 2009)
New York’s Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002)

AWARDS
2015 - Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50
2012 - New York State Council on the Arts, Individual Artist Grant
2010 - New England Book Show Award
2010 - Ken Book Award
2008 - New York Foundation for the Arts, Photography Fellowship
2003 - New York State Council on the Arts, Individual Artist Grant
1999 - New York State Council on the Arts, Individual Artist Grant
1999 - Graham Foundation Grant, Individual Artist Grant

EXHIBITIONS
2016 - Remedy, Arts Westchester, White Plains, NY (group exhibition)
2016 - The Island Variations, Sotheby's, Amsterdam, Netherlands (group exhibition)
2016 - Asylum, Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
2016 - Asylum, Deborah Berke Partners, New York, NY
2015 - Asylum, Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA
2014 - One Steinway Place, Vous Etes Ici, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2014 - Asylum, Wood County Historical Museum, Bowling Green, OH
2014 - Inside Steinway, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI
2013 - White, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, Netherlands (group exhibition)
2012 - Asylum, Het Dolhuys, Haarlem, Netherlands
2012 - One Steinway Place, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
2012 - Asylum, Museum Dr. Guislain, Gent, Belgium
2011 - Asylum, La Chambre, Strasbourg, France
2011 - Asylum, Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
2011 - Picture Books, Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA (group exhibition)
2011 - Asylum, Elmaleh Gallery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
2011 - Asylum, Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, Muhlenberg, PA
2010 - Asylum, Kennedy Museum of Art, Ohio University, Athens, OH
2010 - Summer Place, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY (group exhibition)
2010 - Asylum, Clic Gallery, New York, NY
2005 - Changing Tides, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, New York, NY:  (group show)
2003 - New York’s Forgotten Substations, New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY
2001 - New York’s Forgotten Substations, Municipal Arts Society, New York, NY

SELECTED PRESS
2016 - New Yorker - Exploring the Lost Grandeur of New York City's Verizon Building
2016 - Digitalrev - The Beautiful Horrors of Abandoned Asylums
2016 - Smithsonian - Photographer Captures the Enduring Grandeur of the Steinway Piano Factory
2016 - Atlas Obscura - Behind the Scenes of NYC's Steinway Piano Factory
2016 - Business Insider - Asylum
2016 - Ignant - Asylum
2016 - Creative Boom - Interview
2016 - Hyperallergic - Asylum
2016 - The Week/Captured - Asylum
2016 - Aesthetica Magazine Issue 70 - Asylum
2016 - Graindephotographe - Interview
2016 - BETA Issue 19 - Textiles
2016 - Petapixel - Steinway
2016 - Lomography - Treasures Worth Saving: An Interview with Christopher Payne
2016 - This Is Colossal - A Photographic Celebration of America's Vibrant Textile Industry
2015 - Huffington Post - Technicolor Yarn Factory Photos Show Hope For American Industry
2015 - Feature Shoot - A Mesmerizing Look Inside America's Textile Factories and Mills
2015 - New York Times Magazine - Uber Would Like to Buy Your Robotics Department
2015 - Atlas Obscura - Inside the Colorful, Hypnotic World of Textile Mills
2015 - Vanity Fair - See the Abandoned and Inaccessible Island Where Typhoid Mary Died
2015 - Planches Contacts 02 - Asylum
2015 - WIRED - The Weird Tech and Brilliant Colors of the American Textile Mill
2015 - Boston Globe - Asylums abandoned, bodies unconstrained
2015 - Feature Shoot - Interview
2014 - The John Adams Institute - Interview
2014 - WNET Channel 13 - Metrofocus
2014 - Design Observer - The Last Unknown Place in New York
2014 - The New York Times - Lonely Island
2014 - BBC News - Video Interview
2014 - ABC News - North Brother Island
2014 - Petapixel - North Brother Island
2014 - Smithsonian - Exploring New York City's Abandoned Island
2014 - Slate - The Mysterious New York City Island You've Never Heard Of
2014 - Curbed - Payne Uncovers Disappearing Places
2014 - FStoppers - New York City's Mysterious Neighbor 
2014 - Gizmodo - Exploring the Decaying Ruins of North Brother Island
2014 - Untapped Cities - North Brother Island Book Review
2014 - The New York Times Magazine - Isle of No Man
2014 - Mail Online - Still Made in the USA
2014 - Gizmodo - Inside the Colorful Chaos of America's Aging Textile Mills
2014 - My Modern Met - Former Architect Shows Untold Beauty Inside America's Textile Industry
2014 - The New York Times Magazine - Fruits of the Loom
2013 - The New Yorker - Photobooth
2013 - Esquire Magazine Russia - Steinway
2013 - Modem - Steinway
2012 - Urban Omnibus - Disappearing Histories
2012 - Untapped Cities - Inside the Steinway Factory
2012 - Elle - Steinway Exhibit
2012 - The New Yorker - The Making of a Steinway Piano
2012 - Lebbeus Woods - Inevitable Architecture
2012 - Design Bureau - Photographing Mental Asylums and Textile Factories
2012 - The New York Times Magazine - The Steinway Way
2011 - The Atlantic - Inside the Haunting World of 19th Century Mental Hospitals
2011 - National Public Radio - America's Asylums in Photographs 
2011 - TLS-Times Literary Supplement - Book Review, 4/22/11
2011 - Frieze Magazine - Book Review, April 2011
2010 - The Athens News - Exhibit Review
2010 - Guernica Magazine - Asylum
2010 - The Wall Street Journal, Speakeasy - Lecture Review
2010 - Afterimage Magazine - Sanctuary or Prison?, Vol. 38, Issue 2, Sept/Oct 2010
2010 - Scope Magazine - Book Review, September 2010
2010 - American Photo Magazine - Falling Apart, Sept/Oct 2010
2010 - Zoom Magazine - Book Review, May/June 2010
2010 - The Architect's Newspaper - Exhibit Review
2010 - The New York Times - Exhibit/Book Review
2010 - Boston Globe - The Photographic Art of Insane Asylums
2010 - BOMB - Book Review, Spring 2010
2010 - The Atlantic - Book Review and Interview
2010 - The Pennsylvania Gazette - Architecture of Madness
2010 - New Statesman - Book Review
2010 - New Humanist - Book Review
2009 - Columbia Magazine - Ghosts
2009 - The New York Times - Emptied but Still Secret
2009 - The New York Times - The Lost World of Creedmoor Hospital
2009 - Scientific American Mind - Book Review
2009 - Amazon Omnivoracious - Best Books of the Year
2009 - Boston Globe - Getting Inside State Mental Hospitals
2009 - Preservation Magazine - A Terrible Thing to Waste
2009 - Dwell Magazine - Asylum
2009 - The New York Review of Books - The Lost Virtues of the Asylum, 9/24/09
2009 - The New Republic - Ruins of the Asylum, 9/23/09
2009 - The New Yorker - Asylum: A Photo Essay
2009 - The New York Times - Book Review: Asylum, 8/30/09
2008 - Print Magazine - The Last Run, 8/08
2008 - The Architect’s Newspaper - Lost City in the Woods
2006 - Architectural Record - Christopher Payne: Documenting before their demise
2005 - Psychiatric News - Rational Buildings Designed to Calm the Disturbed Mind, 9/05
2003 - ART News - Power Elite, 5/03
2002 - AJ [Architect’s Journal] - New York’s Forgotten Substations, 12/2/02
2002 - The New York Times - Vanishing Behemoths, 10/13/02

INTERVIEWS/VIDEO
2015 - LOOK3 Photo Festival - Textiles: Made in USA
2014 - WNET Channel 13 - Metrofocus
2014 - BBC News - Interview
2011 - NPR All Things Considered - Nation's Jails Struggle with Mentally Ill Prisoners
2010 - ABC Radio National, By Design - Asylums: A Look at Their History Through Design
2009 - University of Texas School of Architecture - Fall Lecture Series
2009 - New Hampshire Public Radio - Among the Ruins
2003 - New York Transit Museum - New York's Forgotten Substations