Friday, 5 November 2010


Ardres is a sleepy French town in the Pas de Calais, located just south of Calais and near the site of the famous Field of the Cloth of Gold.

We visited Ardres one wet and windy Sunday morning in July. The town was deserted with not a soul in site and the empty fairground near the main square gave the place a forelorn air.

This photo was taken with my Holga and is of a typically wonky doorway in the main square. I have always found doors and windows fascinating subjects. Not the plastic and featureless modern windows but the decayed, weather beaten timbers that you find in many an old townhouse or cottage.

It's true to say that doors and window frames reflect the personality and culture of their owners. There is something engaging about the colours and styles that you come across especially the aged and often brightly coloured timbers in older houses.

Buildings bear mute witness to lives and trials of their owners. Not only have all of life's individual dramas been played out within their frames but many of the doors I have photographed have seen some of the most tumultuous events in history played out in front of them. All this is unknown to the passerby who walks along engrossed in their own petty concerns.

The photographer captures the briefest of moments in the building's own life and creates a permanent record but his own relationship with this subject is fleeting and ephemeral. We see the door but we never see what lies within and maybe what's saddest is that we do not really care.

Click on Ardres to see the full gallery.

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