29 August 2012
Let me know which is your favorite.
San Francisco’s architecture has a zest for designs that include hand-crafted wrought iron gates, iron doors and metal screens. These goodies are integral to the city’s exterior spaces.
You’d think that the milder climate would inspire porches, but instead these soldiers are protectors of passages. Some act as hosts up stairways. Others lead quickly to doorways. Still, other announce courtyards.
This element captured my attention, reminding me of my obsession to photograph doors of Western Europe. Their place in this frontier cityscape give much to ponder.
Gates are used to secure entranceways, but most are not mundane. Each has its own character that is exemplified by angles and shapes realized through the materials. Most seem unique, exuding aesthetics and purpose.
Intrigue is ever-present. They lure your gaze, but push you away at the same time. Many are hand-made and unique. While others are pleasant to view, but strictly utilitarian.
Some are foreboding, giving a sense that trespassers are clearly forbidden. Other installations seem easily violated; they are there for decoration not security.
Overall, the gates of San Francisco are one of the silent dramas, conjuring the idea of a city that has tried to stop crime and home invasion through art. What could be a nobler feat?
These lovely appendages are city-wide. Each building or home surprising with another variation on the theme.
Still, I found an annoying quality to an everyday habit of the local advertisers. They slide and attach flyers and other papers into the spaces of the gates. Mostly, it is an eyesore, disturbing the visual appeal.
There a mysterious quality to many of them. You feel much like a voyeur peeking into layers of a personal story. As your eyes search, passageways are unveiled, signs of life are revealed, and darkly lit areas hide the unknown.
Simple or intricate, plain or fancy, humorous or serious, outspoken or shy, the gates of San Francisco are part of my memories of the golden city. They stand guard with pride, always alert, always ready.
Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of this blog.