When the average person is travelling, she/he photographs the natural beauty that surrounds them, or the diversity of the region, maybe its cultural heritage.
André Vincent Gonçalves is not your average person.
A professional photographer, Gonçalves has travelled expansively across several countries in Europe, exposing marvellously the splendour that lies deeply hidden in these nations through his photographs, but what makes him so unique is that he has clicked – gorgeously, we might add – what most people so easily discard – doors.
He was born in Portugal with a spirit of adventure and exploration that would be hard to match, which was developed even more throughout his childhood that he spent in the Tapada Nacional de Mafra, Portugal, a protected park and a natural habitat for several species of animals, where his father worked as a Falconry trainer.
His impressive portfolio includes images that he has clicked in about 20 countries; his series ‘Doors of the World’ shows doors in nations that include Portugal, Spain, Romania and England, and he says that he would like add Cyprus to that list as well. This kind of travelling photography is a continuation of his earlier series ‘Windows of the World‘, in which – as you might have guessed- he has photographed windows of cities in Spain, Austria, Portugal and Italy.
I like photography because it records my experiences, but above all because I can convey visual messages that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
His photographs of the doors, each individual and unique, are charming and whimsical and when put together as a collage, the intricate image that is formed is simply breath-taking. When viewed all at once – as your eyes travel across the collage – you are left mesmerised at how wonderfully they stand out, each door proudly occupying its own space, all the while blending beautifully with the others to form a collection that is as astonishingly eye-catching as it is incredibly remarkable.
What’s so astounding is how they can convey the different periods of history as well reflect the distinct architectural style of each country. While the nations he has travelled to may be geographically close, the difference in their construction of the buildings and the sensibilities of the people is enormous.
It makes you appreciate the small things like the simple architecture behind doors and windows that tell you more about a place than many historical monuments, museums and cultural centres out there. History, grand and magnificent, was written by kings and emperors, many a times being shaped, moulded, contoured into something else entirely, making us believe what they felt about the times they ruled in, but the entryway to the home of a commoner is raw, honest and speaks to us precisely about what that particular era was all about.
The array of doors that he has captured range from humble to grand, modern to archaic, bright and colourful to sober and soft, but each of them unarguably as delightful as the one before.
Ultimately, these structures, these doors, striking, vibrant and impressive, are what truly define the city they are part of, and André Vicente Gonçalves captures them as impeccably as one can.