There is something about a door that just intrigues me enough to want to take a photo of it. In fact, to my surprise, I have over 100 photos of doors in my photo bank, and it made me stop and ponder why doors? What is it about doors that are fascinating, and what more can I learn and share about the symbolism that is attached to opening or closing a door?
A bit of history first …. doors go back as far as the Egyptian tombs where doorways were built to allow for free passage of the souls, thereafter the Romans integrated the use of doors to another level creating different variations from single to double doors. In fact, the Roman God Janus (Ianu), whose name in Latin means “arched passage, doorway, doors” served as the god of beginnings and passages, transitions, gates, and portals.
So what exactly did Janus do for the ancient Romans? This is where the perception we have of doors starts to reveal itself. As a God, Janus officiated over all beginnings, passages, and ending of life as well as possessing the ability to see the past and the future. In fact, he had two faces looking opposite ways overlooking conflict between war and peace, and birth and dying.
Interestingly, did you know that January is named after Janus…“the month is the door into the new year.”
The concept of an open door is used in thousands of quotes and traditions across all cultures as symbolizing new beginnings, transitioning into a better place, entering a new phase in one’s life, or an opportunity that was not there before and now is. How many times have we read or listened to references of doors described as an entrance or a passageway to a new beginning, a new chapter, a new opportunity, a new life?
But on the opposite end, there is also the concept of a closed door. Most of us know the experience of being deprived of something much like a door closing before you can quickly get in. It doesn’t take much to view doors as barriers to what we dream of, and desperately want even though closing a door could mean moving on, a finished chapter in a person’s life, or finally an end to something you no longer want to ever deal with again. Sadly, a closed or locked door could also symbolize no way out, feeling trapped or imprisoned. Even though doors are a protection from the elements and potential threats, there can also be something that is not quite right happening behind certain doors.
Doors at times are perceived as mysterious, a sign of danger, of intimacy and of secrets … (ahh the things we can do behind closed doors that no one will know). So much of the world’s literature and films use doors to tell captivating and mythical stories that could lead to time travel or another universe or a part of a dream sequence. Doors will forever remain a curiosity simply because, in many ways, it beckons one to wonder what could possibly be happening behind that door.
Through my travels, I have developed a love for the unique, intriguing characteristics of all types of doors. I am drawn to all variations of doors regardless of their age, color, style, size, and status (honestly, I do not discriminate). From the simplest craftsmanship to the most decorative, lavish doors, they are all worthy of a photo. I am always curious of what is behind them, what life is or was like, what is there to learn, and see, and yes for some, I would love to have been invited in. Of the 100 plus photos, I am limited to only sharing 30, so choosing was indeed a torturous task. I trust that their versatility in design and function will be as enjoyable to you as it is to me. I leave you with this special quote that I believe encapsulates my feelings and fascination for doors and their symbolic legacy.
“How concrete everything becomes in the world of the spirit when an object, a mere door, can give images of hesitation, temptation, desire, security, welcome, and respect. If one were to give an account of all the doors one has closed and open, of all the doors one would like to reopen, one would have to tell the story of one’s entire life”. —Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
Click the center of the photos to get the full view“For more stories like these, please click here to subscribe!”