TN State Prison Film Exp 02

Taken on ISO100 DX Studio35 colour film with a Bell+Howell PZ3300.


Built at the close of the 19th century, the Tennessee State Prison housed inmates until it was closed in 1989. From the time it began operations in 1898, the 800 cells of the prison had almost continually been over crowded. Throughout it's history numerous calamities have occurred at the penitentiary including riots, mass escapes, and fires. Conditions at the facility were forbidding and harsh due to overcrowding, sanitation problems and insufficient ventilation. In 1983 a federal court decision prohibited the Tennessee Department of Corrections from ever housing prisoners at the TN State Prison.


Since 1992 the facility has been left mostly abandoned. Several buildings on the massive compound are still in some use today, but the rest of the prison lies in disrepair and deterioration. The Tennessee State Prison is now a wonderland of decay. Not without danger, the buildings on the site are contaminated with black mold, asbestos, and lead based paint among other obvious perils. Yet, it is a completely fascinating location to explore. Numerous films and music videos have been shot on the grounds of the prison.


Nearly all of my exploration of this site on this visit was of the medical facility on the northern end of the compound. The medical facility one of the most restricted buildings at the prison, attributable in part to damage caused by a film crew from VH1 that were visiting to shoot the “Celebrity Paranormal Project.”



Historic Decay

Abandoned Online

  • M.A.M Photography 6y

    i love texture so much in a photograph, and I just love this. sometimes captured in the right lighting and angle paint chipping never gets old for me. I only say this because my professor believes that those types of photos are out of date. I like the color tone of this. amazing joel!
  • Joel יוֹאֵל 6y

    peeling paint is eternal
    What does your prof think are in date? Pictures of flowers?
  • M.A.M Photography 6y

    no, lol. he just thinks it's been over done and that's why he seems to think they are out of date. he also believes in not photographing children or animals. but so many other professional photographers that are most famous have photographed children, so I have no idea....his view point is very limited and,...I don't know what to say about him. He is a unique individual, but he can be really judgmental sometimes....REALLY.

    some of my classmates had some awesome photographs of things that I thought were awesome and he just shot them down, I felt bad for them and upset cause he isn't the only opinion in the world, ya know? but you can't tell that to the people I am in the program with it's like that movie Valerye that i just watched say one thing or do something against what he says and receive maximum punishment. LOL! JKing...but yeah people think will think you are stupid in the building if you oppose things that my professor says. BUT in some weird circumstances he thinks I'm cool. *shruggs shoulders* let me revise though so there isn't confusion:

    he thinks I'M cool NOT my photography. lol.
  • Joel יוֹאֵל 6y

    well that is odd, I don't get music and art instructors that judge others tastes.
S Search
Photo navigation
< > Thumbnail navigation
Z Zoom
B Back to context