Saturday, February 28, 2009

Welcome to the Jungle

It's time to dip into the archives for a shot I took this summer. Yes, this is still downtown Knoxville. Yes, we have a kudzu-draped forest in the midst of downtown. I liked the mystery and perspective and especially the little hint of menace in this alley between empty buildings on Jackson Avenue. Even Indiana Jones would get lost in that tangle.
I also took a monochrome version, but I thought the color drew my eye to the forest more forcefully.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Skinny Sullivan's

Here's another angle to the landmark Patrick Sullivan's building that I've showed you a few months ago in the Old City. The parapet wall is so high and narrow here, it looks like the building's been smooshed by a trash compacter.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Maybe I have cake on the brain, but I always do a double-take when I drive by MagPies new space on Central Avenue. I love their sign. Those life-sized bird ornaments look like they might take flight at any minute. And their motto, "All Butter All the Time", well, I've adopted it as one of my life aspirations. Because life is always better when there's cake.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Layer Cake

First, you make a nice, solid rectangle for the base layer. Then you put another rectangle on top of it to give some symmetry and heft. Some cylinders across the top would look interesting, even if they're really part of the White Lily flour mill. Decorate the outside with some frippery like palladian windows, a loggia, and some wrought iron. Fill it with the usual concoction: a series of nightclubs or restaurants. There now. You've just made an architectural Old City layer cake.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

Today is Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday - and to continue to let the good times roll, I'm sharing some more shots of Knoxville's Mardi Growl parade from Saturday. Remember to wear your feather boas, darlings.
If you're gonna strut, don't forget your beads.
King Louie is the shih tzu that ruled the world - his costume won first place, but I only caught a fleeting glimpse of his royal canine majesty.
And we get one last wave from the end of the parade. Now it's time for some beignets.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Marley and Me

Actually, it's really Rudy, one of the twenty-two canine stars who played Marley in the film Marley and Me - he's the one who destroyed the snowman in the movie. Oh, Rudy.

Rudy was the Grand Marshal of the annual Mardi Growl parade in downtown Knoxville.

Five hundred people and their dogs paraded through the Old City, then down Gay Street to Market Square to help raise money for a local animal shelter.

These photos were shot as the parade began in the Old City. I found that when you sit curb-side at doggie eye-level, you get a lot of dogs coming over to say "hi."

Watching five hundred costumed people walking their costumed dogs down the street is quite an impressive sight. I really wasn't at a place where I could get a good shot of that, but I have a few more individual shots that I'll post tomorrow. Because I like dogs, that's why.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Medical Arts

The Medical Arts Building that I showed you on Tuesday is another Depression-era building that sits across the street from the downtown post office. Built in 1932, it's a weird mix of Gothic and Art Deco with a facade of shiny tan terra cotta tiles. It was supposed to be 13 storeys tall, but only got to 10 because, as I mentioned, there was a Great Depression going on.

This is the main entrance. It really should have a moat and drawbridge, but alas, it only has regular concrete pavement in front. Whenever I look at the inscription over the door, I'm always convinced that it really says "Medieval Arts."

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Hodges Library at the University of Tennessee makes a very good Escher-esque photo. It's built like a huge ziggurat; look at all those cubes of knowledge. Architecturally rewarding as it is, the inside is quite challenging for students who are looking for materials in the zig-zagging stacks. The library provides maps to find its buried treasures.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tail End

A big, bad storm blew through Knoxville last week, swirling clouds and hurling rain sideways, but trailed a momentary rainbow in it's wake.
More skies at Sky Watch.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Double Deco

Light and shadow create a design within a design on a window of the downtown post office building.
Did I mention how much I love Art Deco?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Deco Eagle

This is one of the stylized marble eagles on the downtown post office and court house building. It's an Art Deco delight, built in 1934 during the Great Depression from Tennessee pink marble.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Don't know why I like this - the Medical Arts building is kind of shiny, there's that bare tree branch to anchor me to terra firma. Maybe it's the angle of the traffic lights - they look like they're swinging in a stiff breeze, but they're not really.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Yesterday I showed you the long arm of the Torchbearer on the University of Tennessee campus at the entrance to Circle Park. Designed in 1931 by Theodore Andrew Beck, this statue was the contest winner that captured the "spirit of University youth and its ideal of service."

Unfortunately, the Great Depression and World War II intruded on the university scene, so the statue was not cast until 1967, after a major campus expansion and successful fund drive for the sculpture.

So there he stands in fair weather and foul, with Winged Victory perched on his left hand, and his eternal torch flaming to "standeth in shadow to give light to others."

But I still think it looks like karaoke.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mighty Arm

Oh my. Who or what do you think this is? Elvis singing karaoke in Hades perhaps?

Big picture tomorrow.

And Knoxvillians and Tennesseans, Y'ALL HUSH! I know you know what it is. Let's give the rest of the world a chance to imagine. Or research, depending on people's left- or right-brained proclivities. Deal?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

These Are Not Snowballs

No, really, they're not. They are images of a couple of snowballs. And if Monsieur Magritte was still around, he'd tell you that himself.

I was walking at the park in sunny, 65 degree weather (that's 18 degrees for my Celsius friends), and rounded the path to see the grass littered with large, random snowballs. It was the most surreal, silly sight I'd seen all week. Seriously. I had to sit down on a bench because I was laughing so hard. But then I took this photo to share the surreal world of Knoxville with y'all. Only a little man in a black greatcoat and a bowler hat could make it more complete.

This also told me a lot about my fellow Knoxvillians. Apparently we're consistently two snowballs shy of a snowman.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Frosty Sunrise

And now for a little twist on yesterday's macro: I can see the sun rise through the prism of frost on the window of my truck.
More skies at Sky Watch. Go. It's worth the trip.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crystal Clear

OK, I'm back to the macro work again: here's something from last week's cold spell - frost crystals on the window of my truck made a good subject. Oh how I sacrifice my creature comforts for CDP.
I'm sure there's a science lesson in there somewhere. I'm seeing the abundance of grace in science.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I don't know what a Carbofrax is; maybe it's the company that made this brick. I just liked the way the light and shadow played on the bricks and moss.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Freedom From Fear

Freedom from fear is a towering need that every human is entitled to have. I was thinking about that as I looked up at this granite tower at the Worlds Fair Park. It's part of the new East Tennessee Veterans Memorial near the interactive fountain.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Emergency Light

The Fort Sanders neighborhood, with its proximity to the University of Tennessee, has become a densely populated student enclave. But with that has come crime that preys on people who are perhaps less experienced with life.

This blue light emergency box on 17th Street near Laurel Avenue can be used to call a ride or report a crime. There are also some CCTV cameras at the top of the hill.

I'm glad it's available. I used to park in that lot on the left when I attended night classes at UT, and I can tell you from experience that it was a very creepy walk late at night.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Here's a close up of the remains of a turret on the Pickle Mansion in the Fort Sanders neighborhood. I've already blogged about it, but I liked all the different textures on this shot.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Danger Is My Business

The weather's supposed to warm up this weekend, so I can go and do this again. "This" would be walking and taking photos of my fellow walkers. No, I'm not in a penal colony, don't let the barbed wire fool you. I'm at Lakeshore Park on the 2 mile trail - look, only 1.5 more miles to go! A small golf driving range is on the other side of the barbed wire fence, to which I can infer that golf must be a dangerous sport.

Friday, February 6, 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

The sun had already slid below the horizon at Fort Loudon Lake way out in the western reaches of Knox County, but threw back a bit of color to remind us of its presence.

Addendum: Jim at Terrell Daily Photo just reminded me to link to Sky Watch. Thanks, Jim! I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached this week!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cautionary Tale

This park bench doesn't look very hospitable. Maybe it's new and the concrete footers are still curing. Or maybe it's a sign from the Universe that this is no time for sitting down.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

February Made Me Shiver

It may be 28 degrees Fahrenheit (that's -2 degrees for all you Celsius folks) for my morning walk in the park, but the air is so crisp, and the colors are so sharp and clean that a bit of shivery cold won't hurt me. Plus, the bare trees give me a better view of traffic on the river.
This was taken a few days ago before we got snowed on.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I love how all the simple shapes of the BB&T tower and parking garage merge to form a kind of abstract image.

Monday, February 2, 2009


This mockingbird perched by the railroad tracks at Worlds Fair Park looks like a young'un. And none to amused to see me either.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Theme Day: a Hat Trick of Passages

I see three kinds of passages here: the passage of water through copper pipes, a passage in Underground Knoxville, and the passage of time that buried these once-above ground sidewalks and storefronts.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants