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Abandoned architecture has fascinated me since I was five years old. My grandmother used to take my brother and I in to investigate any old barn she happened to drive past. She was curious about what was left behind, and her inquisitive nature made a lasting impression on me.

I grew up in Dutchess County, New York, and like most places there were quite a few supposedly “haunted” buildings begging for a closer look. Hudson River State Hospital, one of the first places I went to on my own, was one of them. My friends and I used to drive around the campus late at night trying to scare each other.  It was then that my interest in abandoned buildings evolved into a vehicle for artistic expression.

I’ve spent ten years composing photographic obituaries for once-thriving buildings that are now crumbled and forgotten. My hope for my work is that it will shine light on beautiful, dated architecture and on the equal yet sinister beauty in decay.

Matt Lambros is a photographer based in New York City.

“After The Final Curtain” is a photographic documentation of the effects of years of neglect and decay in some of America’s greatest theaters.

59 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2011 4:38 pm

    Please please please shoot the Uptown Theater in Chicago!

  2. Helen permalink
    April 4, 2011 4:51 pm

    I second Roberts plea!

    • April 5, 2011 6:17 pm

      I’m heading out west to photograph more theaters shortly, and I hope the Uptown will be one of them.

  3. April 7, 2011 10:51 am

    Lovely blog! Do you have anything on the Pelham Picture House which has recently been renovated?

    • April 7, 2011 4:42 pm

      Thanks! I don’t have anything about the Pelham Picture House. I’m trying to spotlight theaters that are in need of renovation, and the Pelham Picture House has already reopened.

  4. Joe permalink
    April 8, 2011 12:50 am

    Matt, this is just wonderful! Your photographs of these exquisite theaters are so haunting and beautiful. PLEASE keep up the good work!

    Los Angeles

  5. April 12, 2011 11:10 am

    When will you publish all these memorable pictures in a book? I already have a spot on my coffee table.

  6. April 14, 2011 8:12 pm

    I share your interest in capturing the neglect of the RKO Keith’s in Flushing NY. I’ve been posting images and slide shows for a few years. It needs all the publicity it can get for 2 reasons: 1 The loss of a landmark that has defined the neighborhood for millions and a cultural asset; 2 What is proposed to take its place will choke the saturated neighborhood with over-development.

  7. May 13, 2011 8:36 pm

    Good stuff. My bro lives in NYC. I saw your work on how to be a retronaut.

  8. SheilaM permalink
    January 17, 2012 10:07 am

    There is a theater in the architecture tradition of the ones that you photograph in downtown Hanover, PA, zip code 17331 (about an hour north of Baltimore, MD). It is also in need of restoration, current owners attempted but vandals and the economy have hurt their cause and it is now up for sale. Would love to see it restored, the building is quite remarkable. Please photograph it for your site…

    • January 17, 2012 10:17 am


      I contacted the current owners of the theater in Hanover a few months back. I was told that the building is currently for sale, and unable to be photographed. I plan to try again in the near future.

  9. April 4, 2012 10:51 pm

    I would love to have my gypsy band’s new cd shoot in the decaying Chicago Uptown theatre. Thoughts/interest?

    • April 4, 2012 11:08 pm

      Unfortunately, the owners of the Uptown Theatre in Chicago are not allowing anyone inside at the moment. The following is taken from the Uptown Theatre website:
      “Owned by UTA II, LLC, which intends to restore it, the theatre is not available for tours, photos, film shoots, weddings, etc. at this time.”

  10. June 25, 2012 9:13 pm

    I am absolutely in love with your sites. Great photography. I just blogged about After the Final Curtain.

  11. August 3, 2012 12:44 am

    Just read the About and realized this is about Abandoned architecture! Love this stuff.
    Thanks. Dave

  12. August 3, 2012 6:45 am

    You should restore/renovate all theatres!

  13. Bryan McAlley permalink
    August 28, 2012 2:54 am

    Matt – as you know, you’ve just had some publicity here in the UK in the Sunday Telegraph. I think you’ve exhibited your work here? Any plans to come back over and do that again.?? Great work – keep at it. Oh, and if you run out of subjects in the US, we have plenty over here!!!

    All the best,


  14. Chicago Kenny permalink
    November 9, 2012 12:19 am

    When we were kids we could walk to the Music Box Theater, and the Uptown. Hope the folks in Bridgeport are successful in their efforts to preserve a piece of history.

  15. Frederique Beranger-Ernst permalink
    December 1, 2012 7:55 am

    Hi Matt, gorgeous photography, loved your website with the abandoned hospitals/theatre and i love the outlets/ I, for some reasons, have always love shooting outlets and old ceiling fixtures. Anyway, beautiful…
    How much of re-touching are you doing if you don’t mind me asking?

    • December 1, 2012 2:39 pm

      Hi Frederique,

      Just the basics. Color correction, straightening, sharpening, and some blending of bracketed images.

  16. December 19, 2012 11:41 am

    Truly like the name and the issues it connects with. Keep sharing :)

  17. linda permalink
    December 28, 2012 1:01 am

    Hi Matt. I just found your site and it’s truly fascinating. I live in Brooklyn in a area were I am surrounded by the remnants of theatre history. I have the downtown area to the north of me with all it’s hidden glory. South is Flatbush where the titans still stand. My favorite, The Kings on Flatbush Avenue. My kids think I’m crazy but it’s good to know that others like yourself appreciate these awesome structures. Thank You.

  18. February 28, 2013 7:20 pm

    Great blog. There was a feature in Chicago Magazine not too long ago about abandoned, or decrepit theatres in Chicago that may be worth checking out for some more ideas. Keep the awesome pictures coming!

    • February 28, 2013 7:55 pm

      Peter – Thanks! I did see that article and I’ve been to most of the theaters that it profiled.

  19. April 21, 2013 11:39 pm

    Matt – I am trying REALLY hard to find information about the historical significance (if any) of The Lawndale Theater in Chicago. All the information I keep finding online is the same stuff, just worded differently. Since you have had the honor of photographing it, i thought you might be able to point me in a new direction?

    • April 21, 2013 11:43 pm

      I had trouble finding anything as well. Have you tried asking the Theatre Historical Society about it? They may have some more information.

      Good luck!

  20. Ashley permalink
    June 6, 2013 3:19 am

    I love this whole project! Old buildings -especially those that are abandoned like this- have always fascinated me; they have that weird sense of mystery to them and are very inspiring!

    Will you be visiting more theatres??

    • June 6, 2013 11:32 am

      Thanks! I just visited 7 over the past two weeks, and I have plans for many more.

  21. June 23, 2013 6:43 am

    One of my absolute favourite blogs i have ever come across.
    Thankyou for exploring!

  22. June 23, 2013 7:15 am

    Your blog is truly fascinating, I can’t believe that so many magnificent buildings that you photograph are left unused!

  23. Mike permalink
    July 10, 2013 4:38 pm

    Matt: thought you’d find this interesting – one of your earlier subjects – lost to a parking lot:

    Final curtain, indeed.

    • July 10, 2013 4:54 pm

      It’s a shame they couldn’t raise the funds to preserve the front of the building.

  24. August 6, 2013 12:28 pm

    Great idea!!!!!

  25. August 11, 2013 5:41 pm

    interesting concept for a site. nice!

  26. Nick Scott Greene permalink
    September 7, 2013 8:33 pm

    Some beautiful images here. You deserve this.

  27. September 19, 2013 5:29 am

    What a wonderful blog and what amazing pictures…Happy to have found you!

  28. Susan Forbes permalink
    October 3, 2013 6:43 pm

    PLease PLease shoot the Schine Theatre in Auburn, NY. They have been trying for years to save it!

    • October 3, 2013 7:21 pm

      Thanks! I’ve been meaning to shoot the Schine for a few years now. Hopefully I’ll head up that way soon.

  29. October 14, 2013 6:13 pm

    What are the chances that these theaters can be remodeled and thrive once again?

    • October 14, 2013 8:20 pm

      David – Some of them already are in the process of being renovated, but most of them will probably remain abandoned until they are beyond repair.

  30. November 5, 2013 11:53 pm

    This is very neat! I love historical buildings. Hopefully your photos will inspire or motivate the people of those communities or historical organizations to find a way to acquire, renovate, and put the theatre to use! Looks like they might need to find donors with deep pockets ;)

  31. Bruce Migdalek permalink
    November 14, 2013 10:01 pm

    I just came across this website and was totally blown away by it. I am a recently retired projectionist with nearly 38 years in just about every movie theatre in Brooklyn, Queens and quite a few in Manhattan. I was in the projection booth the last night the Loew’s Kings Theatre. Few people are aware that there is a full sized gymnasium under the auditorium which was used by employees in the early years of operation to keep fit at the employer’s behest. I grew up in Brooklyn a ten minute bus ride away from this theatre and my earliest memory of it was watching the original version of “Around the world in 80 Days” as a child. I was the last projectionist to turn off the lights at the above pictured RKO Keith and I remember the original interior. The auditorium ceiling was painted blue and had hundreds of tiny lights embedded in it and clouds painted on it to give the illusion of being open to the night. It has been said that sometimes the humidity inside had caused small clouds to appear, but that was waaaay before my time in that place. By the time I arrived there that gorgeous movie palace had already been divided into a triplex, and a lot of the original architecture, while still in place, was damaged and inoperative. If you google images of the RKO Keith you can see pictures of it’s original glory. In the latter half of my career I had the dubious distinction of closing quite a few theatres or was involved in the conversion to a multi plex. The stories I could tell about these places would astound you.

  32. January 12, 2014 10:49 am

    Wow! So happy to have stumbled upon your site. I herald from Waterbury, CT. It’s an old, former, industrial city and the ghosts of it’s past just float throughout its ruins. Not having studied architecture, I only have a layman’s appreciation for the remains that still stand, but I do find the town haunting and sad and strangely beautiful. They did do a wonderful job restoring the Palace theater, but, again, I know little of architecture and design. Now I’m clicking back to enjoy your blog. Cheers!

  33. January 14, 2014 8:28 pm

    I am so incredibly grateful to have found your site. I think there is a hushed energy around each of these theaters. Oh if the walls could talk! Thank you for your amazing insight into these special treasures. I’m glad to be following your blog now. Thank you! Cher :)

  34. February 12, 2014 9:25 am

    Hi , my name is Ana Martha , I´m an architect , and I work with restoration , in Brazil , we have some government help to this kind of places and I would love to see some of these places that you have been posted , completely restorated , and able to work again…

  35. May 15, 2014 11:16 am

    Hi Matt, I have nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award! Please follow this link to my blog for more details: Hugs, Cher xo

  36. June 9, 2014 8:00 pm

    This blog is very special. Many old theatres have stories of ghosts. You’ve captured them on film. At times heart bracingly sad, but always capturing the essence of what makes theatres different o any other buildings.

  37. August 28, 2014 3:52 pm

    I love your pictures and what you’re doing here. I’m a theater designer at heart so I see so much potential for these abandoned theaters.

  38. December 9, 2014 3:00 pm

    Lovely blog! Your project is very thoughtful. Keep up the great work! please Visit sometime, too. Thanks!

  39. February 3, 2015 2:21 am

    Its enchanting!!how cool those place!!I’m inlove with your blog..There’s a lot of history and arts with those wonderful pictures you have..You brought me in those place that i would love to see…Its really really lovely….

  40. iwonderfortime permalink
    February 13, 2015 5:29 pm

    I think there is definitely a beauty in decay and what was once there is seen in the building through worn out walls and thick dust. I am new to the whole blogging thing and I look forward to following your work.


  1. After the Final Curtain: Haunting Photographs of Abandoned Theaters
  2. » After the Final Curtain – Bilder über die morbide Schönheit verfallener Theater

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