Doors of Beaune

a whimsical study of “portal expressionism”

Once upon a time, I visited Beaune, an ancient city in the heart of France’s Burgundy region. Staying at a small hotel near the old town center, I’d come mainly for sampling the area’s renowned pinot noir wines. But what caught my attention during my rambles about town were the homes’ doors.

Plans to photograph vineyards quickly morphed into a fascination of the incredible array of shape, color, and condition these doors displayed. What characters they were! Coming from the United States where homes are rather monotonous and front doors show virtually no personality, the doors of Beaune had soul.

Look through this gallery and you’ll find ornately crafted doors as well as simple ones fashioned from planks. Some are in pristine condition; others are dilapidated. Narrow and wide doors. Wooden doors, but also steel. Doors of every imaginable hue and texture.

I spent my mornings in a frenzy of photographic bliss. These visual gems tantalized me with their creative nature. Who lived behind each one? What was the impetus for that door’s style? What stories could the doors tell of the people they’ve sheltered and the events they’ve witnessed over time?

That’s what makes this gallery so special: it is much more than a study of architectural elements; there is a narrative in these everyday objects that expresses their unique identities and imbues the viewer with a true sense of place.