Lisa Gwen doesn’t consider herself a photographer. Instead, she prefers “aesthete,” “light-chaser,” or “capturer of magical moments.”

She goes about her life in Malta, the island nation in the Mediterranean, and snaps photos of whatever tickles her fancy. In an attempt to ignore daily routine, Lisa indulges in being a tourist in her own hometown. While walking around, she rediscovers places like a first-time visitor.

She certainly wasn’t planning to photograph doors, that’s for certain.

But, on an afternoon in March of last year, in an attempt to organize the thousands of images she’d accumulated, Lisa noticed that she had a large number that focused on doors, facades, and residential architecture. Without thinking too much of it, she started a second Instagram account, “MaltaDoors.”

The immediate feedback she received — from friends, architects, and designers in Malta and around the world — fuelled her enthusiasm.

MaltaDoors took off from there.

Now, Lisa actively searches for doors and facades around Malta that she has yet to photograph. A project with lazy beginnings turned into a documentative endeavor: to collect as many variations of doors as she can before they fall into disarray or are replaced by modern counterparts.

Gradually, Lisa figured out why she was so drawn to doors in the first place. She’s intrigued by the personalities of the doors themselves, of course, but even more than that, she loves guessing at the stories and lives that lie behind them. It’s these stories, this touch of mystery, that keeps her going.

Doors also represent a threshold, an entrance and an exit that can symbolize opportunity or obstacle. This symbolism is something other people often connect with, even if they don’t realize it consciously. It is also something that Lisa noticed as the MaltaDoors Instagram account grew.

Some of Lisa’s followers have even traveled to Malta because of her photography. They wanted to see the doors for themselves. It’s more likely that her account made them realize that they weren’t seeing their surroundings in the same way she was.

I hope my images can make people stop and notice more of their environment, wherever they may be,” Lisa says.

“Perhaps they will begin to appreciate the many details that we, all too often, pass by and ignore.”