Matthew Bender

Matthew Bender


With no prior experience to impress unique character upon it, a new man-made structure is little more than two things; a collection of materials that hold it up, and the purpose for which it was created. It's hope and lumber; an empty mold, to be filled over years with layers of real human experience – beautiful, sloppy, uplifting, damaging experience.

Nothing is permanent; these layering experiences will eventually transform, pervert, and destroy everything that made up the structure at the beginning of it's life. The hope, the collection of materials that hold it up, and the purpose for which it was created. While the physical breaks down around it, however, these experiences gain legs with which to stand on their own; if not in a physical sense, then in spirit.  

This developing, as of yet untitled series of photographs has been shot primarily within the interiors of derelict buildings throughout the north-eastern United States. An attempt has been made to mediate the visual chaos and layers of human experience within these ruinous environments into tightly composed, highly graphic, thought provoking vignettes. My goal is not to make decay the star, but rather contrast the layers of human experience fostered within each with the isolating departure of these same experiences. Photographed in a hyper-realistic style, details are brought to light that otherwise would be impossible for the viewer to see clearly; drawing out the latent humanity within each space.


Matthew Bender was born in Lancaster County, PA. After earning a degree from Antonelli Institute of Photography in Philadelphia, PA, he began photographing landscapes, structures and environments across the United States and abroad. His interest in pattern and symmetry influenced his work in increasingly controlled and structured directions. His work has been included in several shows and exhibitions, most recently The National at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Lens 2014 International Juried Competition at Perspective Gallery in Evanston, IL, and the 2014 National Competition at Soho Photo Gallery in New York, New York. He currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.

All Photos by Matthew Bender