Guardians at the Gates

While located 1000’s of kilometres apart, and hundreds of years different in age, the following two sculptures have much in common.

The village of Saint Jean Pied de Port is located at the base of the Pyrenees in south-western France. It is one of the departure points for walkers and pilgrims on the St. James Way of the Camino de Santiago, before they cross the border into Spain.

A sculpture of a shepherd, carrying a staff and caring for a lamb, is perched above the Porte d’Espagne in Saint Jean Pied de Port. The shepherd of Saint Jean Pied de Port is a symbol of caring and guidance, protecting all of the pilgrims who pass under the gate at the commencement of their journey.

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the shepherd of Saint Jean Pied de Port

Ryerson University is a post-secondary institution which has a large campus in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada. Kerr Hall is one of the primary buildings on the campus, and it was constructed in the form of a square, enclosing an open green space in the centre (the Quad). There are two portals that open onto the streets at the north and south ends. Above the south entry gate, there is a statue of an ice hockey goalie.

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the goalie of Ryerson

The goalie of Ryerson can be viewed as the protector of all those who pass through the gate to enter the campus. I am sure that only in Canada would this metaphor of a goalie as a guardian be accepted and understood. A shepherd with his staff can be universally understood – at least within the Christian ethos – to be a guardian. But a goalie with his hockey stick is a truly Canadian phenomenon. Of course, for some Canadians, hockey is a religion, so it goes without saying that the symbolism of a goalie is well understood.

It would be interesting to see more examples of guardians like these from other parts of the world. If any readers have some images or suggestions, please respond.

Door Potpourri

The word “potpourri” originated in the French language, and can be literally translated into English as “putrid pot.” It was used to describe a Spanish stew of various meats. [Source: Merriam-Webster online dictionary.]

More recently, this word has two common meanings. One refers to a mixture of flowers, herbs and spices, usually kept in a bowl or a jar, to create a pleasant scent. The other use of potpourri is to describe a miscellaneous collection or medley of things.

Norm Frampton has suggested that regular contributors to his Thursday Doors blog should consider posting a year-end recap of door discoveries over the past year, in celebration of the end of the year. As my final door post for 2018, I have chosen to feature a potpourri of forgotten doors from around the world that didn’t make it into a previous post. You could also refer to these as my “B-side” doors. For other year-end door contributions, be sure to check out Norm’s Thursday Doors blog for December 20, 2018.

My first door has an A-side and a B-side. The A-side has the address of 10 Adelaide Street East, Toronto (“A” is for Adelaide in this example). This building was opened in 1909 as the headquarters for a financial institution. The doors and the facade reflect the prosperity of the times in Toronto over 100 years ago. Like many cities, Toronto had its big downtown fire in 1904, and this new building was designed to meet stricter fireproofing standards. [Source: Ontario Heritage Trust website.]

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Ontario Heritage Centre – A-side

This building is now home to the Ontario Heritage Trust, which has the mandate to identify, protect, promote and conserve Ontario’s heritage in all of its forms. The OHT is trying to preserve Ontario’s Anglophone and Francophone heritage – a mandate that seems to have been half forgotten by Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government.

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Ontario Heritage Centre – B-side

My B-side image was taken from the interior of the Ontario Heritage Centre when it was open to the public during Open Doors Toronto in May 2017. For more of my images from Open Doors Toronto 2017, you can use the following links:

Doors Open Toronto – Part 1

Doors Open Toronto – Part 2

Doors Open Toronto – Part 3

The next four images could have been included in a Doors of the UK series, but I could not find a theme for grouping these with any other doors.

Following these are two more door images that could have been included in my collection of Doors of Southern France. I love these doorways for the elaborate stone work and carvings that surround the doors.

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One French door
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Two French doors

My original French doors attracted a lot of interest from readers and have received more likes than any of my other blog posts. Here are the links:

Doors of southern France – Part 1

Doors of southern France – Part 2

My final door image for 2018 is a blue Police Box. This style of police box was used in the UK during much of the 20th Century. The box (usually blue) contains a public phone, but the phone is not inside the box, like you would expect to find in a phone booth. The phone is actually located behind the hinged door on the door on the left. Fans of the UK TV program Dr. Who may recognize this as the TARDIS – which is Dr. Who’s time machine. [Source: Wikipedia – Police box.] This police box is actually located in a small town in Australia. This must be Dr. Who’s actual time machine – how else would you explain its relocation 1000’s of miles to the southern hemisphere?

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Blue Police Box – AKA the TARDIS

Experimental Impressionism

I have decided to start on some new directions in my photography for the coming year. To be more precise, perhaps, I am experimenting with different image processing techniques using Photoshop as my primary editing tool.

Today’s image is an attempt at some photographic impressionism, using some of the blur tools in Photoshop. The subject is a narrow laneway in a town somewhere in southern France (likley Arles). The sun was still high enough in the sky to brightly illuminate the buildings in the alleyway, so I wanted to retain some of this brightness, while introducing some mystery and darkness to the outer edges of the image. The vertical blur reflects the direction of the sunlight from above. The archway leading into the alley provides a strong frame around the brighter centre.

I have been following other photographers in WordPress, Flickr and Instagram, and I sometimes find inspiration from their style and techniques. When appropriate, I am quite willing to acknowledge the source of my inspiration. For this particular image, I was influenced by the work of Olga Karlovac.

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French alleyway

Black & White Sunday Photo Challenge – Typical

On two occasions over the past decade, I have visited the Louvre Museum in Paris. On both of my visits, I viewed The Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci. This is my first example of the use of this week’s theme word – I am certain that an infrequent visitor to the Louvre, like me, will “typically” view this iconic painting during a tour of the museum.

I took a photograph during each visit, and both images display a “typical” crowd of viewers crowded around the painting. Cameras and mobiles ready to shoot.

Perhaps “atypically,” there is one person in each image who is pointing a camera or phone in the opposite direction. The 2016 version is likely for a selfie, but not the earlier version.

These images have been posted in response to Paula’s Lost in Translation challenge for this week – Typical.

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Mona Lisa, October 2010
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Mona Lisa, April 2016

Doors of southern France – Part 2

This is the second half of my collection of doors from southern France, and this week’s contribution to Norm’s Thursday Doors.

We begin with another door from Narbonne – this one more institutional than the doors included in Part 1. Someone has gone to a lot of work to preserve the finish on these two wood doors. The two gargoyles are also quite well preserved.

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Office door in Narbonne

The glazed door is from a hotel in Avignon. The glazing and the opened door make this entrance much more inviting than any of the other doors – but then, for a hotel to be successful, this is a good feature to have.

Avignon is well known as the site of the Pont d’Avignon, located on the Rhone River. Several popes resided in Avignon in the 14th Century, and parts of the city are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a popular tourist attraction.

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Hotel door in Avignon

The third door is from Les Baux-de-Provence, another historic village in southern France. Baux is a hilltop village that has been inhabited for thousands of years. There are typically more tourists than villagers in town on most days.

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Old door in Les Baux-de-Provence

The largest set of doors in my French collection belong to the Church of Saint-Trophime in Arles. The church is well known as a good example of Romanesque architecture – note the round arch above the doors – as are the sculptures on the portal.

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Church of Saint-Trophime, Arles

Doors of southern France – Part 1

This is the second instalment of my posts dedicated to doors and this week’s contribution to Thursday Doors. This week I have selected two doors from southern France.

These two doors are located in the city of Narbonne, which is located in the former region of Languedoc (now Occitanie) in south-west France. Narbonne is an ancient city, established in the second Century, and located on a major Roman road that connected Italy with Spain. The city became a regional capital, and it reached its zenith in the 12th and 13th centuries, after which it declined in importance.

Both doors are very Medieval in appearance, and one can imagine that they looked the same hundreds of years ago. The diamond motifs and the use of studs are two characteristics of Medieval-style doors.

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Blue door – Narbonne
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White door – Narbonne