Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #204 – Doors and Doorways

Los Angeles Hotel

This week’s challenge is “Doors”, guest-hosted by Sylvia. She writes, “This week we would love for you to share a few appealing or distinctive doorways you have discovered. Do you feel some have more character than others or evoke a particular feeling or mood? Hope you have fun with this challenge!” You can view her complete challenge post here.

My opening image features a hotel lobby entrance that I captured many years ago in Los Angeles. I can’t remember the name of the hotel anymore, and it was a long time ago that I converted the digital image to black-and-white. It remains one of my favorite black-and-white conversions.

Gullwing Door
Gullwing doors

As a fan of classic cars, I thought I’d share some unusual automotive doors. The sleek beauty above features gullwing doors that open up instead of out.

Front door
BMW Isetta

The 1960s-era BMW Isetta above is a 3-wheel car with two wheels in front and a single wheel at the rear. This unusual design features a door that opens wide in the front so that it’s easy for the driver and passenger to enter and saves the cost of putting a door on each side of the car.

Suicide Doors
“Suicide doors”

For many years from the 1930s to probably the late 1960s, many cars with large back seats had rear doors that opened to the front of the vehicle. I gather the thought was that it made entry into the back seat more comfortable. Unlike today’s rear doors that lock automatically while driving and can be child-proofed from having kids open the back doors, it was quite possible for people to open the rear doors on these cars while the car was in motion. When that happened, the wind from the car’s slipstream would grab the door out of the person’s hand and fly open, or worse yet, the person would hang on tight to the handle and be dragged out of the moving car. Hence the name “Suicide doors.”

Mazatlan Taxi

My last vehicle door features a pickup taxi in Mazatlan, Mexico. Larger groups of party-goers could go from place to place in the back of a pickup bed fitted with two bench seats and a safety cage to keep people from falling out. A door, actually a gate, added additional safety at the rear of the pickup.

Brothel Door-1
Brothel door

This door, on the second floor with no landing or stairs, is an interesting story about the gold rush days in Skagway, Alaska. Many of the second stories of Alaskan saloons in those days had a “door to nowhere” that, during the night, had ladders set in place. Customers, usually of some status in the community, could visit the girls of the upstairs bordello without going through the saloon where they might be recognized.

First Starbucks
First Starbucks Coffee Shop

Near the oceanfront in Seattle, Washington a new coffee shop opened on March 31, 1971. Starbucks got its start when three people started a partnership that grew to be the enterprise that it is today. I’d like to show you the doors for this challenge but during our visit to the nearby Pike’s Market, views of the doors were blocked by the long line of customers.

Castillo San Felipe Fortress
Castillo San Felipe Fortress

Cartagena, Colombia had an early history of run-ins with pirates. Forts with armed soldiers were built to protect the citizenry. One such fort is now a major attraction to visitors of the great walled city. Castillo San Felipe Fortress was built in the 17th century and defended the Spanish conquest. In addition to the fort, the city was walled to defend itself from pirates and from other countries that might have had designs on their own colonial expansion. Indeed, for a time, the French occupied this fortress. Its first construction, completed in 1657, is much smaller than the fortress as it exists today. The photo above features stairs to an underground entryway where soldiers could retreat to rearm and regroup during the heat of battle.

Feel free to click on any of the images above to view them on my Flickr site in HD resolution. Alternatively, you can see the entire album here. Thanks again to Sylvia for guest-hosting this week’s challenge. If you’d like to join in the fun on our weekly challenges but aren’t sure how to proceed, you’ll find the info here.

John Steiner


  1. Thank for two key learning takeaways today – why they were called Wuxi or doors and that there folks started Starbucks (thought it was one) and they sure are a goldmine for business – even though I think they make their money on sugar drinks more than plain old coffee !
    Enjoyed your doors today

  2. What an interesting mix of doors! My favourite is the brothel door, both as an image and for the story behind it. Starbuck’s I can live without!!

  3. Some VERy interesting doors this week John – enjoyed the images as well as the explanations (especially the 2nd story door on the saloon!!!). One of my high school classmates was killed exactly the way you described with the suicide doors but I think they were joyriding and had challenged each other to see how long they could hang on. A great example of teenage daredevil stupidity.

  4. Amazing post John! You certainly came up with an unusual array of doors. I really like the car doors selection, The Castillo San Felipe Fortress was beautifully photographed, and the brothel door–good story!

  5. What a great collection, John. I knew you’d include car doors! The ones you chose are great. I love the one with the door at the front of the car. So that’s how suicide doors got their name! Thanks for that!

  6. I used to follow a guy in NM who photographed doors. Just doors. But in NM, there are so many awesome varieties of doors. I remember his array as being quite impressive. I wished I remembered his name.

  7. Wow…great doors.
    Interesting about the brothel. I see doors like that around here and wondered about them. I’m going to pay better attention next time I see one.

  8. What a great collection of doors. The second story door to the brothel, the gull-wing doors are unique to say the least. Thanks…I really enjoyed all of them.

  9. John, what an interesting post on a variety of doors. It was fun reading about the different styles of classis car doors and I love your opening black & white image! Thank you for sharing these pictures.

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