Call me weird, but I am obsessed with photographing doors. There is just something about them that draws me to them. I have a dozen of photos of doors and believe me I could talk about them all day as I find them so intriguing and fascinating.
Doors are full of patterns, textures and designs. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Some are large, heavy and intimidating, others are small, welcoming and inviting. Whatever the case, they are always fun to capture with my lens and to add to my collection of photographs.
Doors beg us to be opened, they invite us to walk through them. They tell us so much about the location we are in. They inform us about the streets, history and the culture that surrounds us. Some doors look more like fortresses, determined to keep the ‘outsiders’ out and the ‘insiders’ in, possibly left over from ancient times when their towns and cities were under siege. For example, in some ancient European towns, especially along the rivers and seas, towns were designed around the concept of self-protection from attackers and therefore the doors in homes were kept small and short.
In most languages, the word for door is ‘porta’ and it means ‘port’, ‘entrance’, ‘passage’, ‘gate’, ‘gateway’ .
e.g. Albanian: portë, Bulgarian: порта, Dutch: poort, French: porte, German: Pforte, Greek: πόρτα, Portuguese: portão, Romanian: poartă.
‘Porta’ is said to either originate from the Proto-Indo-European root *per- which means ‘to pass through’ or the Ancient Greek πόρος (póros) which stands ‘means of passage’.
Generally speaking, we can see that doors are focused around the concept of entering or exiting a place, state, or situation. For me, doors signify new starts. They lead us to new phases, new starts, new journeys. As Miguel de Cervantes once said: ‘When one door closes, another opens’ and this is usually the case as long as we are open to change. As American inventor Alexander Graham Bell once said: ‘when one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us’.
My current door collection photography includes the doors of abandoned buildings, made of weathered wood, thick layers of paint, heavy locks, doorknobs, keyholes and pieces of metal and glass. I also have a small collection of doors I photographed in Paris and in The Mission District, San Francisco.
Even though hand-craftsmanship for door building still exists, it is hard to find. I have come across a few door making workshops in the old town of Paphos in Cyprus, but it is not something you would expect to see everywhere. The speedy and cheaper methods of manufacturing doors have taken much of the “style” out of doors, so finding an artistic door makes the find even more of a treasure, worthy of photographing and preserving.