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by @fmj_steve




"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

standard knitting mill

Since Saturday’s gun show put me on the north side of Knoxville already, I figured I would steal a page from Les Jones’ book and see about this whole Knoxville Fragile 15 list.  Picking out of the proverbial hat, I decided the Standard Knitting Mill sounded interesting, and headed over that way.  The building itself is not far removed from 40, and you can actually see it as you drive on by


‘Course, it is a lot more interesting up close. 

As the page said, Standard transformed into the largest textile and knitting mill in Knoxville, with over 4000 employees and a production output of 1,000,000 garments a week… back in the 1940s.  Bit impressive, that.  Unfortunately, the mill is located in what I would consider to be a relatively rough area of town, trapped between light industry and remarkably run-down housing, and its future is yet to be determined… while entropy, Mother Nature, and vandals continue to have their way with its architecture.  Already a significant portion of its structure hanging over the Third Creek has collapsed, I can only imagine how the roof is not holding up, and while there is a nominal fence around the property, it is… shall we say “lacking”. 

In any case, I spent a couple of hours traipsing around the outside wishing I had remembered my camera’s backpack, my hat, and some water.  These were the end result: 












All but the last were HDR’d using varying settings and tonemaps, by way of Luminance, an increasingly impressive open-source high-definition range imaging program (and as the second-to-last image shows, HDR can be used for non-post-apocalyptic photography).  The last image was focally black-and-white’d by Tintii

[Update]  You should now be able to see full-size images when you click on the above thumbnails… [/Update]

12 comments to standard knitting mill

  • Lynn H

    Excellent eye.

    Well worth the well-done pate.

  • Jdberger

    Pretty neat stuff. Up in my neck of the woods, such structures are quickly turned into “lofts” spurring cries if “gentrification”.

  • Excellent photography! I love the filter work… Downloading Luminance now.

  • Rob Reed

    Great images.

    Can you write a post or comment on the experience of working with Luminance? I have no real photo software experience and would like to figure out how hard the program is to learn.


  • Very post-apocalyptic. You keep this up and I’m going to have to scratch that itch for a new DSLR.

  • @ Lynn H: Turns out the burn was not that bad, so, yeah, it totally was :).

    @ Jdberger: I would definitely prefer that to the current decaying, collapsing condition. Granted, that collapsing state makes for great pictures, but I would rather the building be used.

    @ That Guy: Be advised it is a little tricky to use – you have to start with either RAW files and tinker around with them to make multiple image files with different exposures, or you have to take multiple shots from the same exact spot with different exposures.

    It meshes those together, so it cannot work off a single image (and it cannot work with just RAWs either, which irks me, but is free 🙂 ).

    @ Rob Reed: As a program, it is not hard to use – take multiple images that are identical except for their exposure setting (either by the RAW trick above, or by using a tripod and whatever bracketing your camera can do), feed them and their exposure numbers into Luminance, and it does all the work. The new version is significantly more stable, and actually provides you previews of the various tonemapping options before you go and render them. After that, it is just a matter of playing with sliders.

    Really, I have been happy with the output – granted, most of the work is through the lens and camera, but this makes it more real for me.

    I might write up a comprehensive post one of these days :).

    @ The Freeholder: Really, all you need for this is either a camera that can take RAWs, or a camera with a really fast shutter speed and an exposure-bracketing setting.

    But DSLRs are fun in general ;).

  • Kim Trent

    These photographs are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.

  • […] Photographing endangered buildings in Knoxville. […]

  • Holy! Those HDR shots are incredible.

    P.S. It looks like that building would make pretty nice lofts if they cleaned it up!

  • Not that it approaches SLR-level photography, but have you seen the HDR camera apps for android?

  • @ Rob Reed: Check this out: http://www.wallsofthecity.net/2011/08/high-definition-ranging-at-home.html :).

    @ Kim Trent: Not a problem… thank you!

    @ Mike-ENDOtactical: I really do like how it accentuates… everything.

    And, yeah, they really would… the architecture definitely lends itself well to the concept. The only catch is that those rail lines are active – there is probably not enough dynamat in the world.

    @ Ian Argent: Yeah – my latest Daily Photography post was using one of those. It is interesting, but definitely limited… though I have not tinkered with it much.

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