Friday, September 4, 2015

The Remarkable Doors of India.


When my family and I travelled around the world, I didn't plan on collecting door photos. I wanted lots of photographs, but they were going to be used as reference for all the drawings and paintings I would do after we returned home.
    But as things usually go, I was drawn to the things I found interesting, like those columns beside that door, those bricks around that door, a magnificent church façade surrounding that really cool door, my son standing beside the door of our rented flat. 



Pretty soon, and without me even realizing it, doors were becoming the focus of some photos. It was just, "Hey, that's cool," and I'd take a picture.
     "Look at how the plaster is crumbling…beside that door."

Pyrgi, Chios Island, Greece

    "Look at that intricate wood detail…on that Topkapi Palace door."


     The stonework around a door in Damascus. Doors through archways on Greek Islands. Massive entrances to citadels. Stones that held up openings and archways, but secretly dreamed of relaxing and falling to the ground at Termessos.


(For the record, I'm defining 'door' as any door or doorway-type thing, like an arch or entrance, pretty much anything marking a passage from one room or area into another.)
     Somehow a door made its way into the frame no matter where I pointed the camera. Sometimes the only thing that stood in the frame was a doorway.


By the time we got to India, I had become aware of consistencies as I went through my photographs at the end of the day. But India, as I've said before, is not to be contained, and was not content with me merely noticing a pattern. India, Incredible India, opened my eyes to the wonder that could dare to call itself a door. 

Whether it was age, colour, scale, it didn't matter. Doors exuded a grace and style unlike any doors we'd see to this point in our travels. They protected forts, and decorated palaces. Adorned simple homes in forgotten alleys and announced themselves proudly at centuries-old monuments. Every day we were witnesses to some of the most beautiful doors in the world. And every day, I took notice.
     Here are a few of my favourites.

Boxing Day in Gokarna, returning from the beach down a little used lane, I could have sworn I heard this door breathe my name, and for seventy-six days, I was entranced.

Lunch at a tiny place to eat in the small town of Anegundi, just outside of Hampi. We sat at a small, outdoor table, and this was right beside us.

One of many gates at Dalatabad Fort.

The first photo I took in Jodhpur.

Our boys enjoying the audio guide inside Mehrangarh Fort.

Looking out of Jaswant Thada in Jodhpur.

The courtyard in the City Palace in Jaipur has four unique but similarly designed doorways (two shown above).

Looking through the front gate at the Taj Mahal in Agra.

On another building within the Taj Mahal complex.

One of a great many at Fatehpur Sikri. Okay, one more...

And finally

One of my paintings from a door in Chittorgarh, a place we weren't even supposed to visit.

From the people to the beaches, historical sights to the colourful doors found in every city and village, India was a complete experience. Delightful and frustrating in every possible way, but just an incredible time.

My favourite India door poster.

If you've seen some beautiful doors in India that struck a chord with you, show them to me on Twitter or Facebook. I'd love to see them.

--almost forgot the Red Phone in Gokarna. Not sure what the doily is supposed to be doing.

Want to see and hear more of India? Have a look at our book about our seventy-six days in India. From Kerala in the south, Rajasthan in the west, to Kolkata in the east, we covered a lot of ground, and took a lot of pictures. It's all there in the book, 166 pages of full-colour India. See the trailer here, or at the top of this page.