A recent article in the New York Times discussed the surging popularity of “doortraits,” an Instagram photography genre whose name is a portmanteau blending the words “door” and “portraits.”
However, long before the advent of Instagram—painters, photographers and travelers have been captivated by the beauty of doors, as well as the intrigue of what might be behind them.
Writing in the Times, Laura M. Holson notes:
Present-day doortraits are rooted in painting’s past. Seventeenth-century Dutch painters portrayed doors and windows as a bridge between worlds: home and street life, worldliness and spirituality. In the 1800s, the first photographers harkened back to those themes…
Whether open or closed, doortraits offer a provocative glimpse into the lives, history and culture of the people who live behind them.
For this collaborative post, 19 of my fellow boomer travel bloggers contributed some of their favorite doortraits taken around the globe.
At the end of this post, I’ve added a link to my Pinterest page of Doors. Please let me know if you have a Pinterest Door page I can add to the list.
*All photographs are credited to the respective bloggers who provided their doortraits.
Julie Fox, JulieDawnFox.com
To me, this blue door is typically Portuguese. I first spotted it four years ago in the medieval town of Barcelos. I was back there a couple of months ago and passed the same door, evoking happy memories. It’s the white swirly railings over the little windows and of the curved gate that make me love it so much, plus the fact that it’s surrounded by azulejos, the colourful ceramic tiles that decorate many older buildings in Portugal. This was also one of the first door photos that I sold as a print, another reason why it’s precious to me.
Elizabeth Rose, SouthwestLiz.com
I was touring the Taos Pueblo and saw an open door. The sun streamed into a dirt floor room. When my eyes adjusted to the dark, I found an artist quietly working in the light from a window. On the adobe walls his works were humbly hung waiting to catch the eye of a collector.
Betsy and Pete Wuebker, PassingThru
Carole Terwilliger Meyers, BerkeleyandBeyond
I love this shot I captured on quiet Rivington Street on NYC’s Lower East Side. The door has been turned into a canvas for a painting of a nun, and then enhanced with physical items that unwittingly (?) include a huge air conditioner, several flower pots, and more. I so wish I had been able to catch the person who lives there in the shadowy doorway. Aren’t you curious, too?
Charles McCool, McCooltravel.com
This was the oldest and coolest looking door I saw throughout the Kasbah section of Marrakech. When I saw it, it made me wonder what stories it could tell and what secrets it would reveal. Did it protect its owner from attacks? Was its caretaker throughout the years royal, shop owner, school, brothel, all of the above?
Janice Chung, FranceTravelTips.com
Judy Freedman, ABoomersLifeAfter50
This was taken in Positano, Italy. I love the wood and the blue-green stain. The pink flowers add a special touch. There are so many great doortraits in the Amalfi Coast all around the steps and nooks and crannies.
Paula McInerney and Gordon, Contented Traveller
The entrance to the Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas was as startling when it was built in 1740, as it still is now. This alabaster doorway is in the Rococo style; it is now the appropriate entry to the Ceramics Museum of Valencia
The Spanish city of Valencia is much like this over-the-top doorway. It is a blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the avant-garde. It seemed appropriate for us to wander past this highly ornate door, and even more incredible that we were getting used to Valencia’s wow factors.
Howard Blount, Backroad Planet
I happened upon this doorway while on a bicycle tour of the Presidio neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona. I was struck by the synergy of texture, color, culture, and place in this scene, positioned against a background of sky and clouds beyond. I can only imagine the stories this doorway could tell. Sometimes pictures do paint a thousand words.
Jackie Smith, travelnwrite.com
I am not sure what I was expecting of Cairo, Egypt on our first trip there last December, but the things I didn’t expect weres the profusion of Christmas decorations about the city. Staying in the affluent Zamalek District, on the northern portion of Gezira Island which sits in the middle of the Nile River, we’d set out on foot each day. On one of our walks, we came across this door. As with all doors I photograph, I wanted to open it and meet those who lived behind such a beautiful entry.
Billie Frank and Steve Collins, Santa Fe Travelers
We loved this trifecta shot: three doorways in one. It was taken at the historic San José de Gracia mission church in Las Trampas, New Mexico on the High Road to Taos. From our vantage point outside the church, Steve was able to frame the gate and two doors: the main entrance to the church and an upstairs door opening to the balcony. Heading to Taos on the High Road is a popular day trip for both locals and visitors. Lots of small towns dating back hundreds of years coupled with artists’ studios and great views make it a winning outing.
Anita Oliver, No Particular Place To Go
This photo from Fez, Morocco shows an unusual arched entrance within the wall to one of the King’s palaces. I love the intricate pattern of mosaic tiles in blues and greens that surround this imposing door and the flow of the angled lines and curves. If you look really close, you’ll see a regular size door on the right hand side that will give you a clue of just how massive the door really is.
Jürgen Klein, dare2go.com
All across Mexico you find beautiful colonial doors set into sandstone archways. This is a typical example from Patzcuaro in Michoacán, photographed at the “Casa de los Once Patios” (the house of 11 patios). From the way the sandstone has been carved and set you can, to a degree, understand the skill level of the craftsman and the wealth of the original house owner.
Josie Schneider, HouseSittingTravel.com
Leyla Giray Alyanak, Women on the Road
When the Iron Curtain was strong and countries hid behind its shield, real and perceived enemies prompted them to build defences. Thousands of bunkers dotted Albania’s landscape during its four decades of isolation and dictatorship under Enver Hoxha. Today, Albania’s doors have been thrown open and many bunkers lie abandoned, like this one, its entrance used for graffiti or as a dark reminder of the past.
Noel Morata, TravelPhotoDiscovery.com
Verona is filled with amazing architecture and colorful portals. All the doors and windows just draw you in with their unique details, colors and wonderful patina, and every home or building is so spectacular—like the ironwork on this front gate. You can easily spend the day just wandering and enjoying these wonderful scenes as you pass by.
Suzanne Fluhr, Boomeresque
Donna Janke, Destinations Detours and Dreams
Not only is this a beautiful door, it is in an unexpected place. It serves as the gate into a peace garden. The garden contains plants, artwork and a labyrinth, and is located on Woodwynn Farms, a farm working to help the homeless turn their lives around on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Rachel Heller, Rachel’s Ruminations
Our son, Robert, who hates sightseeing, spotted this door as he was trudging along behind us. My husband and I were enjoying the charm of the small medieval village of Peratallada in the Baix Empordà region of Spain, inland from the Costa Brava. Robert, along with our two other stroppy teenagers (foster kids), would have been much more interested in the phones glued to their hands if they had wifi, but they didn’t, so they were bored. This lock adorned the exact center of a garage door on a stone house in the village. It appealed to Robert’s sardonic, sarcastic sense of humor (and mine!). A door, labeled “door.” Like me, he took a picture of it, sending it to his girlfriend with the message, “Yes. That is a door.”
Doortraits on Pinterest