Friday, January 18, 2013

Doors and Windows...

Ajar - Pere la Chaise Cemetery, Paris
   On December 29, 2012, in my final post of the year, I spoke about doorways and thresholds.  It is a rather universal metaphor and one I find continually illuminating.  There is such a duality contained within the idea of the "doorway".  They can welcome us in or bar our entrance.  Some require a key to open while some stand ajar in subtle invitation.  And as the Roman god Janus underscores, you can move both ways across the thresholds we encounter.  We can go in or out, the choice is ours.

  When I visited the ancient Houtong section of Beijing, China I learned that people's status within the community could be ascertained by the height of their threshold.  The higher it was, the greater one's prestige.  When I visited Japan I saw how people would place a piece of fabric (called a Notan) in their doorway so that visitors had to bow their heads as they entered the home, as a sign of respect.

   On my Pinterest site I've been collecting images of doors and windows.  It is such a rich metaphor for the contemplative photographer. You could also include arches and passageways in this category. They all speak of transition.  My image "Heavenly Staircase" shows how doorways can be an interesting focus for reflection.

Old Window - Connemara, Ireland
   Windows, as well, have have a rich tradition of metaphorical possibilities and are therefor fertile ground for the contemplative photographer to explore.  When I was in France this summer the stain glass windows were a constant delight.  What I found particularly interesting is the fact that when viewed from outside the church, the windows looked dark and lifeless but when seen from the inside the windows glowed with incredible beauty.  There certainly is a message in that.

 This year I will explore a number of meaningful metaphors that you might use in your own exploration of the world around you.  Seeing the metaphoric capabilities in the landscape is an essential skill for the contemplative photographer and I encourage you to begin to collect your own metaphors.  In the meantime, visit my Pinterest board "Doors and Windows" to see how other photographers have approached this intriguing and thought provoking subject.

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