Jan 15, 2015
specializes in the documentation of America’s vanishing architecture and industrial landscape. 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.