Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Doorways: Dolphin Cottage

As I got ready to photograph this rather striking doorway, in an otherwise somewhat rundown street, a couple in their fifties stopped so they didn’t intrude onto my shot. Knowing my propensity for fiddling around with different settings, I said something like ‘come by, it’s no trouble, I might be awhile’.

There was then a minute of British ‘no, no really, it’s no trouble’ on both sides, to the point where I just wanted to say, actually, it makes me quite uncomfortable having two people standing and staring at me whilst I’m trying to take a photo.

Although obviously, not as uncomfortable as it would’ve done before I went to China.

After this polite agonising the couple went to walk past me, and the man asked what I was photographing. ‘What do you want to do that for,’ was his response. His wife then made a spirited defence of the merits of the door as a photographic subject, and, standing right in front of me, they had a self-contained, but rather heated, argument about this.

I had a few minutes of thinking, ‘well, this isn’t a situation you find covered in photography books’ and feeling exceptionally awkward, before they moved off without acknowledging me.

So far, I’m feeling that this incident sums up my week: things almost go right, and then…


  1. Interesting doorway. I like the dolphins on either side and the contrast of black and white.
    Funny about the bickering couple.

  2. That's a very elegant door and surrounding wall. Is it common in the UK to have a name for one's house? Does it hearken back to times when the nobility had names for their "houses"? I knew a guy from Belfast, Northern Ireland back in the 1960s when I lived in Ireland whose family's house was called "Rosemount House." I thought it was strange to have a name for your house. You don't see that here in the US.

    The couple arguing about the value of photographing doors must have deeper issues! Control? Art versus pragmatism/functionality? Awkward situation for you, but funny to us, your readers. :)

  3. Don't you love the way that there is a small story to go with each picture you take?
    Very smart door, I thought you were going to tell us that it was their door.

  4. Having a name for your house reminds me of the differences in relationships with freeways of southern Californians versus northern Californians. Southern Californians have names for their freeways: "the San Bernardino Freeway" instead of I-10, "the Santa Monica Freeway," "the Riverside Freeway," etc. I think they have an emotional attachment to their freeways! Here in northern California, freeways are only called by their numbers: I-80, 50, 99, etc. I grew up as a SoCal girl, but I've now lived more of my life in NorCal, so I'm a northern Californian....strictly numbers for fwys for me!

  5. Pat - it's quite common for houses to have names, particularly Victorian or older houses. Perhaps a snob element, also before formal street numbering became the norm. In rural wales, houses are known by name rather than a number.

    Janei - I am considering taking out relate (marriage counselling service) with me!

    Moannie - Certainly, I will not forget this door now. It would've been funny/embarrassing if they'd lived there too!

  6. Nice door no doubt....But i enjoyed the story much :)

    These things are very common...people even start complaining when they found someone around them with camera in public places like bust stop, park....
    but it has its own charm... :)

  7. Wonderful anecdote to go with your door photo! I could read a whole book of such incidents (with pictures, of course), if you happened to collect more and published them. The little story speaks volumes.

  8. What an astute observation. How many of us have been right there!? Here's hoping the next few days finish the sentence with "it got even better!"


  9. Bizarre situation indeed. I've also found that taking photos sparks off weird conversations.