Doorways of Dominica

D7000-Dominica 2015-1327-2015-05-14The tiny Caribbean island of Dominica is a fascinating destination.

Only 290 square miles in size and with a population of just 72,000 inhabitants, what makes the island so remarkable is that most of it is so mountainous as to be uninhabitable: the meagre population is squeezed into a few coastal areas, mainly on the western, or leeward, side of the island.

Dominica is also the wettest of the Caribbean islands, receiving 350 inches of rain annually in the mountainous areas and 40 inches on the west coast, where the two main towns, Portsmouth and Roseau, the capital, are located.

While all this rain may be tough on the residents, it makes for interesting photographic opportunities, as most of the houses are constructed of wood.

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The heavy pounding that the little houses have taken over the years from the lashing rain and scorching sun, in addition to the occasional hurricane-force winds, makes for intriguing, weather-beaten textures.

As if that weren’t appealing enough, many of the doors and windows have been twisted out of shape by repeated soaking and drying out.

And, of course, the owners, like good Caribbean islanders, paint their modest homes in the brightest, most cheerful-looking colours imaginable: yellows, reds, pinks and purples.

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On every house, it is apparent that desperate repairs have been made: door lintels shored up with bricks, windows covered up with paper and wooden slats, broken boards filled in with ill-fitting pieces of scrap wood, all of it creating a glorious havoc of color, texture and shape.

All of the photos in this post were taken on a fifteen-minute walk from my hotel to a meeting in downtown Roseau. On a brutally hot day with a bright, searing sun overhead, I was darting down alleyways, seeking out shaded spots to fire off a few frames in places where I hoped the scare shade would allow the glorious, saturated colours to come through.

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For the final shot of my walk, I was fortunate to happen upon a shopkeeper selling a few lemons, limes and bananas from his modest shop-front. So hot was the day that, sitting in the doorway of his little wooden shop, he had leaned back into the shady interior, laid his head down on the floor and fallen fast asleep. I captured him with his legs dangling out of the front door of his shop.


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One Comment

  1. David Woeller May 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    Can you just imagine the stories that these doors could tell? The comings and goings of family, guests, and who knows who else. While all endure the same climate, and battle the same conditions, each has its own personality. Thanks for sharing.

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