Saeah Lee’s Siesta Doors

“These shutters are a museum that opens when everything closes.”

Every day, between the hours of 2:00PM and around 5:00 or 6:00PM, the city of Valencia, Spain shuts down for a siesta. Shops and restaurants all over the city close for business and lower steel shutters over their front doors. Many of these shutters are brightly decorated: with graffiti, murals advertising the business inside, and the occasional spray-painted cock.

Photographer Saeah Lee recently started documenting these shutters. She calls them “siesta doors.” Every day at siesta time and all day on Sundays, she’s out finding doors.

Saeah: I’m the world worst tourist — this is my idea of sightseeing. These shutters are a museum that opens when everything closes.

In the past, my focus has always been nature photography. This is so different because when you go to a garden to photograph, you know the flowers will be there but when I go searching for siesta doors, I don’t always find them. I like that unpredictability. I like exploring.

Being on the lookout for doors allows me to see more and notice more in general. It keeps me mindful and aware when I walk around the city. This project is all about conscious observation as opposed to shuffling from place to place with your head down.

— Spain, 2017

You can also find Saeah on Twitter and Instagram.