Lens-Artists Challenge #20 – Open Sesame: Doors and Doorways

“Doors can lead you to other worlds, or to what is behind what is in front of you.”

Stephanie Torbert



“What’s behind what’s in front of you” – what an interesting concept – describing not only doors but also the art of photography. As we press the shutter to capture an instant, are we not working to express our idea of what the scene tells us; what it makes us feel, what’s “behind” the image? Are we not hoping that the viewer will be drawn into the scene just as we were?



“There always two people in every picture, the photographer and the viewer.”

Ansel Adams

Each of us brings his or her own experiences to an image, whether we are creating it or studying it. The best photographs focus on that which drew us in the first place. In my opening image, for example, it was the person behind the door that drew my attention. Although the doors look like they could tell a million stories, for me the real questions revolved around the young woman –  what was she studying/reading? Was she tired, absorbed in a story while waiting for the next load, bored? Why had she left the doors ajar in the first place? 



“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”


Have you ever thought about what drew you to a particular scene, painting or photograph? In my second image it was the boxes of fruit and the empty ticket booth that caught my eye. The booth reminded me of those old-fashioned amusement park booths with a fortune teller inside – a bit spooky and forlorn. The contrast of the fresh fruit beside it told me there was life nearby waiting to be savored. In the image above It was the shadows of the iron gate leading out to the beautiful blues of the sea and sky beyond. Often our eye is drawn by our subconscious but as photographers or viewers, it’s a great exercise to analyze what appeals to us and draws us in. 



“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m a fan of a bit of mystery in an image – everyone loves surprises, right?  In the image above, for example, like everyone else who has been to Petra I found the famous Treasury Building to be spectacular. Having seen so many images of it in its entirety, I personally preferred the image above. I liked having just a taste of the structure’s splendor from the natural portal created by the rock walls of the Siq, and the thought of the two onlookers seeing the scene for the first time. And yes, of course I also made an image of the entire building – but that’s for another day 😉.

14 AND 16

14 AND 16

“Every life is different because you passed this way and touched history.”

Barbara Kingsolver

Sometimes it’s fun to manipulate images to deliver on an idea. In the capture above I combined two doors which were physically quite close to each other into a single image. It seemed to me that the doors had been nearly identical until a passing street artist decided to add some individual flare 😊. Do you suppose it was the same artist? Did the owner(s) appreciate or resent the paintings?  Did you, the viewer, think this was a single panorama or did you sense the combination. Do you think it works or would the single images have been better left alone? Did you have to pause for a moment to think about it? Isn’t that part of our goal – to cause others to pause and think about an image and our intent in creating it?



“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”

Diane Arbus

Sometimes we create an image simply to capture beauty. The image above, of one of the doorways into the Dome of the Rock, is exactly that. It is one of Israel’s holiest places to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. I was drawn not only to the beauty and spirituality of the site, but also to the political controversy surrounding its accessibility.



“The adrenaline and stress of an adventure are better than a thousand peaceful days.”

Paulo Coelho

Finally, no post about doorways in the Middle East would be complete without one of their incredible antiquities, in this case an arched doorway in Caesarea. Originally built by Herod the Great in 20 BC the city ruins are remarkably well-preserved and are now part of an Israeli National Park. I have always been interested in archeology and the stories these kinds of ruins tell us about life so long ago. I made this image in recognition of my own sense of wonder and in the hopes that you too might give the long-ago history a moment’s thought. More on the many sites like this one in future posts.

Thanks for staying with me as I meandered through so many doorways this week – I look forward to seeing your responses!  Please remember the Lens-Artists tag to be seen in our Reader section, and feel free to link your post to this one as well. For more information about our challenge click here. And don’t forget to join Patti for her challenge next week.



Last week Amy enchanted us with her Magical Light challenge and your responses were amazing. Check these out:

Along with some other beautiful examples, Bren of Ryan Photography created a composite moonscape for us;

Steve of TheOutershores introduced us to a new word (and creature) “pollicipes” shown in the beautiful morning light.

Deb of Twenty-four showed us what happens when water meets the treeline in a beautiful sunset.

Ana of Anvica’s Gallery showed us it’s actually possible to touch the sun.


Wishing everyone a great week, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate. 









226 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #20 – Open Sesame: Doors and Doorways

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  12. So many great shots Tina…looks like an amazing place to visit. Really like the Stairway to a Doorway shot and your mention of a ticket window sent me right to a ticket booth here at Kennywood Park…lol. By the way, what was that doorway leading to? Have a nice Thanksgiving holiday 🙂

    • Thanks Andy…actually there was a large plaza on my side of the wall and a large mosque and courtyard on the other side. Not sure why the booth tho! A happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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  21. The idea of two people in every picture…the photographer and the viewer. Hmm… that is a really interesting way to look at it. Wonderful doors, passages and openings n this response to your challenge Tina.

  22. What a wonderful collection of mysterious doors. I love the colours of the stone in so many of them. It’s a great doorway to the challenge 🙂

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  26. Tina, I love these photos with the various arcs, curves and circles. I spent my career in construction working with right angles, straight edges and flat planes. I am drawn to the Arabic arches and domes, plus the round Eastern forms and structures. Even our Native Americans used the circle and curve to mimic Nature and blend in to the surrounding terrain. Thanks for sharing such beautiful images with us.

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