AN OPEN AND SHUT CASE ON ST HELENA | Sharon Henry
Inspired by a travel photographer’s amazing collages of doors from around the world, we decided to focus our lens on door photography in Jamestown, St Helena – which proved to be an interesting and fascinating project, showcasing the town from a different perspective.
We all love that just-got-home feeling; shutting the door on the outside world, kicking off our shoes, flicking on the kettle and undoing those pesky buttons that’s been girdling us all day. Utter bliss. But who takes time out to appreciate those ‘key’ protectors; doors, those stoic guardians of our private sanctuaries that are often taken for granted?
Opening The Door To History, Culture And Style
Who knew there was such variety? St Helena’s tiny capital is known for its Georgian architecture and although the facades are widely photographed, little attention is paid to doors in particular. For some a lick of paint wouldn’t hurt but it’s all part of the charm of these functional, everyday barriers.
Jamestown doors are like front covers of sorts, reflecting the island’s history, culture and style. They don’t conform to a standard size or shape which in itself conveys a timeless quality. It’s probable too that a number of those remaining today have been ‘stepped through’ by notable people of the past; Halley, Darwin, Cook, Wellington, Betsy Balcombe, Napoleon, Lord & Lady Baden-Powell, Queen Elizabeth II… Just thinking about it can give you goose bumps.
Door Photography, The Best Bit About It
With this door photography mission in mind, being on the prowl in town with camera in hand really heightened my sense of awareness and I ‘saw’ doors I’d usually breeze pass. Small details caught my eye; knockers, brass knobs, worn doorsteps, rusty locks and cracked paint that often led me to wonder what’s inside… But most of all, I loved capturing the people who stood, sat or walked into the frame, they instantly injected life and a personal connection to the photos.
On their own the doors can look quite unremarkable but shown as a collection they invite intrigue, admiration and discussion. And I reckon those shown without the context of a building will even give locals a tough job pinpointing them. This is our door photography project, a homage to the humble building entrances of Jamestown, St Helena.
This door photography article was originally featured in our Breeze 3 magazine and has been slightly modified for our blog.