Doors of Perception
Like so many of us, I'm drawn to photographing doors, gates, and windows. Not only do such framed spaces invite – and, by definition must also exclude, they invariably beckon. What's on the other side? For example, in Mexico, I often hear people declare after knocking on a person's rather unassuming door and being invited in: "I had no idea what was behind there."
One of the fundamental precepts I learned in landscape design years ago is the importance of surprise and mystery. Pathways, arbors, fences all play a role in both defining space and enabling transitions. They incite us to explore. We are being coaxed forward and ultimately (or hopefully) welcomed into a home.
What inspired me to gather a few of these images together is my photograph Exit, just above. Upon seeing it I was reminded of a night scene Edward Hopper might choose to paint. With its powerful and symbolic undertones it offers a visual metaphor for life and death, light and darkness, hope and despair. In thinking about such duality or simply ambivalent messages the title of Aldous Huxley’s book, The Doors of Perception came to mind. What thoughts might we project on a simple structure such as a rusty, metal gate in front of a church?
Three years ago, I participated in an exhibit called “Portals” in New Marlborough, MA. Featured was this photo taken in the silver mining ghost town of Los Pozos in Mexico. Sadly the gate was locked and I couldn't visit the church.
Below are a few more images from a ghost town, in this case, Real de Catorce, also in Mexico. Most foreboding is this cave-like entrance to a former silver mine. All are a testament to what happens when human habitations are abandoned, in this case a once prosperous town.
Right below is a very contemporary looking architectural element in the courtyard of an ancient building on the Silk Road: a staircase over an arched door in Konya, Turkey where the Sufi poet, Rumi died.
Then we have shutters from Cavtat, Croatia followed by a series of images from Jaral de Berrio, a former palace/hacienda in Mexico. In the last photograph I could call Doors of Perception, I created a mirror image of a passage into another room. Silk walls are peeling, paint has been scratched while floors and ceilings are collapsing. All of this imbues the interior with an enthralling mystique and beauty.
Back in the US, in this case New England, we can easily discover spaces such as this classic type of church that stands in stark contrast to a house on a river not so far away.