Tuesday, March 28, 2017


There are certain subjects that the practitioners of photography as art just can’t walk by—and old doors are near the top of the list. The older the better. They… O.K. we—can’t resist the pealing paint or hand caved varieties in particular. 

Also on the list of subject 5 we can’t walk by—No, we actively seek out these things:
  • Old wood, barn wood or anything made from barn wood.
  • Leaning or tilting barns, buildings, outhouses, headstones or crosses—anything. Leaning or tilting.
  • Old windows—see pealing paint/hand carved—hand made glass preferable with broken panes; tattered drapes a bonus.
  • Sway-back barns, outbuildings, horses—sway-back anything
  • Rusting tractors, old cars, guns, tools, bridges, baby carriages—anything rusting.
  • Wheels—old, rusting, wooden, wagon wheels with remnants of pealing paint and we’re golden!
Now you now why you can’t keep photographers out of ghost towns. Everything on the list can be found in a good ghost town.  It’s Disneyland for  photographers!

So, here’s one of my contributions to old doors…

 f9.5 @ 1/125 sec., ISO 400
If you want to find some nice old doors it’s hard to beat Italy. This 2nd floor pealing beauty to no where was on the Isle of Capri.

The bottom line on my list is OLD and if you want to find old Italy ( and the European continent ) is hard to beat. It seems that the youngest thing in Italy is four times older than the oldest thing in the USA by comparison.

And back to our OLD list with a natural twist:
  • Old gnarled trees like the Bristlecone or Jeffery Pine.  I guess the ultimate would be the petrified forrest—of course anything petrified!
  • Natural Arches, Pillars, hoodoos, goblins, post piles, windows or waves.
  • Canyons (Grand or slot) to caves and anything there-in.
Another of my favorite old doors….
f.95 @ 1.80 sec., ISO 400
I found this hand carved masterpiece in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 

So, what is it with us photographers and old doors? To be sure we are suckers for anything old. I think it has a lot to do with the patina of age. Time and weather create marvelous textures on wood and metal (rust) that can’t be found in modern materials as they age. Even with dramatic lighting there’s not the same artistic interest in weathered plastic, carbon fiber or stainless steel. Modern materials do not age gracefully, they just tend to disintegrate. Old doors are special, they can exhibit the things we look for in old man made objects like rusting hardware, layers of pealing paint and sometimes superb craftsmanship. 

But they offer more than their appearance. They entice us with an unknown story; who made it, why did they put so much effort into it, and when found loose, what building was it attached to? Then when we photograph a great old door that’s installed on a building in use there’s always the mystery of who’s on the other side and what’s their story? Though we never knock to find those answers. We move on looking for the next treasure to photograph attaching the unsolved mystery to each door not unlike the metadata that describes each image we create.

What’s on Your list of artistic subjects that are irresistible to you?

'Til next week…keep practicing and learning…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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