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New Exhibit Showcases Mystery of Sacramento’s Unique Doorways

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The [now-former] Hangar recording studio--it was "the building that began the project," said Christian.
The [now-former] Hangar recording studio–it was “the building that began the project,” said Christian.

In a three-year venture to capture an architectural continuum of Sacramento’s commercial doorways, local award-winning photographer Martin Christian shot an array of images from the city’s alleys, railyards, and trucking corridors. What resulted is a pictorial showcase of Sacramento’s unique entryways.

Now on display at East Sacramento’s Archival Gallery, the exhibit, titled “Doors of Sacramento”, focuses on the doorways of commercial buildings in the industrial areas of Sacramento. Loading docks and warehouses were frequently shot as well as the tattoo parlors and hairdressers spotted nearby.

“I think the downtown core has been slow to adopt sterile, nondescript buildings,” said Martin Christian. “And that’s a good thing.”

The project, Martin says, is not about preserving buildings, but simply showing what’s there and leaving viewers with a sense of mystery. “It’s a real pure, photojournalistic goal,” he said, adding that during the course of shooting, his vision for the exhibit evolved with the help of his wife.

“She really challenged me to look for doors where there’s mystery there—like when you look at the door you would have more questions than answers,” Christian said. “So my focus [became] one of mystery. When you look at it you think, ‘Gosh, what in the world is there? What goes on behind those doors?’”

Christian got the idea for the project when a friend who owned a bike shop on 20th and Capitol had to move because the building was being torn down to make way for a parking lot.

“It was a funky, old garage that was kind of a neat place to hangout,” Christian said. “And I thought how many more times will business owners in Sacramento be able to find these funky, old spaces before they’re gone?”

The desire to capture the purity and art of those funky, old spaces is what started his photographic journey. And why just the doors instead of whole buildings? “I discovered that people love doorways,” explained Christian. “Doorways…say something to people.” He added as well that the buildings are cherished by the owners operating their business inside its doors. And the doors, he said, are a business’–and a building’s–first impression.

In all, Christian photographed 300-400 doorways, but only a small portion of those are able to be exhibited. While difficult to choose which ones made it, Christian said that, in the end, it was all about the mystery.

“Doors of Sacramento”, which is free to the public, will be on exhibit from Aug. 6-Sep. 6 at The Archival Gallery, 3223 Folsom Blvd. Exhibit hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-4pm. An artist’s reception will be held during this Saturday’s Second Saturday on Aug. 9 from 6-9pm. For more information, visit www.archivalframe.com.

Biltmore Hotel
Biltmore Hotel
New Exhibit Showcases Mystery of Sacramento’s Unique Doorways via @sacramentopress

About the author

Bethany Harris

Bethany Harris

Bethany joined Sacramento Press in 2013 and enjoys writing articles that uncover the happenings of the city and the people behind the stories who make them so worth telling. A native of Sacramento, she also loves photography, running, and discovering new places and new things to do--both in the city and throughout California.

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