Roy Colmer, the photographer who captured more than 3,000 New York doors in the mid-1970s, passed away on January 24. His wife, Claudia, says that he'd been in poor health for months.
Last year, I talked with Roy about his doors, a sweeping collection that gives you the real sense of walking through the city on an average day, at a brisk pace, just trying to get somewhere. The doors are not special, not set up to be admired, in some ways barely noticed. They just are.
from Doors of New York
As Roy explained, "I was not concerned with the particular street, historic or architectural importance of the door." He was also not interested in creating anything that wasn't simply there.
"In the mid-1970s," he said, "no one noticed when I was photographing on the street. This gave me a great sense of freedom. I did not wish tension or drama to appear in the project."
New York City, 1984 - 1986
Beyond the doors, Roy also photographed the movie houses and the street life of New York City. In 1988, he received a Guggenheim for this work. Some of his New York photos are in the MOMA collection. A handful were collected in a slim volume called New York City, 1984 - 1986.
While Printed Matter has put out a number of small books of his work, there has been no major Roy Colmer collection published. I'd say it's about time.
Inside New York City, 1984 - 1986