In the spring of 2006 I was appointed Senior Graphic Designer for the United Nations. My first high profile job was to create an in-house poster for the UN Ethics Office. I wanted to demonstrate graphically that making an ethical decision was comparable to walking through the right door. The client had no budget for art, so I searched New York and it’s boroughs, photographing doors. I created a grid of interesting, diverse and beautiful doors (see image at right). My boss loved it, as did the client, but upper management rejected it, opting for something more conventional. The silver lining of this rejection was my discovery of the treasure trove of New York’s doors.
Since then I always keep my camera with me. Like most native New Yorkers, I barely had the time or inclination to appreciate the city around me. The search for unique and iconic doors sparked an awareness of the constantly changing and miraculous urban landscape that I had never consciously noticed before.
The whole multifaceted nature of New York can be seen in its doors. When artists move into a neighborhood (i.e. Williamsburg, Long Island City, Bushwick, the Lower East Side) doors often become a major target for expression. Doors speak of class, culture, wealth, change, neglect, and even death. Some boast, while others are humble and self-effacing. Some invite you in with their beauty and individuality, while others make it clear that you had better keep your distance. Many provide a small glimpse of a forgotten past, while others reflect the opulence or the sad dysfunction of our present.
I began to crop the photos and place the doors next to each other. Using their color, texture, imagery, materials, contrast, etc — a visual jam session — I discovered that when arranged in groups, both a synergistic visual composition and a unique New York narrative was developing. The photos became my artistic materials and the ” door jams” ultimately became a book published by Schiffer Publishing - Door Jams: Amazing Doors of New York City.
Which brings us to this website. Please take advantage of my years of exploration to discover and enjoy the Door Jams. A sample of the photographs from the book can be found on this site. As I find new amazing doors and create new compositions they’ll appear on the Amazing Doors link or in the blog. Check out this short video about the Door Jams book.