Barriers come in many forms. There are the common physical barriers, some inconvenient like that fence that blocked your favorite shortcut as a kid, others serving practical purposes, such as the various forms of traffic control which block your short cuts as an adult! Still others are beneficial, such as barrier islands that form protected waters where marshlands and estuaries can exist, flush with wildlife.
The barrier foremost in my mind lately is that of the 'day job'. Now, calling my day job a barrier requires a certain context because, lets face it, without it a lot of necessary and/or desired things would not be possible. There is that pesky mortgage, the kid's college tuition, all the bills associated with living in the Long Island version of suburbia, the nice vacations, etc., etc. All that is understood and accepted, if reluctantly, in spite of the running joke that 'my day job is really cutting into my play time!'. On top of that is the disruption caused by a do-it-yourself kitchen renovation. Disrupted habits and routines are not always a bad thing, but when layered on top of an existing stress, well...
The barrier caused by the day job that seems to crop up too often recently is its tendency, through stress and mental exhaustion, to deplete the energy needed for creativity. Too often lately, I've caught myself late in the evening staring into the 24" high res lcd panel, filled with some image file I am trying to finesse to fit the potential I see in it and my focus drifts and my eyes slowly close - only to snap awake when I catch myself. The result is the writing starts to fall off and the image processing backlog doesn't get any smaller. It even gets noticeably harder to fire up that creative spark needed to enter that mental space that allows me, even drives me to create.
This is NOT good, especially for someone who's need to create is one of the prime motivators in life. The frustration can become palpable.
So, what is one to do? Not much but ride it out, unfortunately. The day job is not always this stressful and, as the saying goes, this too shall pass. The kitchen project, little by little, is getting done and in a few more weeks we should have a functional, and even attractive, kitchen again. In the meantime, I've learned how to install an Italian tile floor, the definition of the word 'slake' as applied to mortar, how easy it is to blow a hand powered tile cutter to smithereens and the advantages of spending a bit more money for a proper stone cutter table saw (highly recommended). The RAW photo files will still be on the computer and waiting.
(click on image to enlarge) A World of Wounds
In the midst of this morass, I have found one creative outlet which has paid some surprising dividends: the iPhone camera. I've discovered that the few minutes spent walking between Penn Station and my office can be a goldmine. In this mile and a half of walking and observing, before the pressures, interruptions and obligations of the day start to encroach upon the psyche, the creative spirit can still manifest itself. The result is a collection of little images that speak to a unique world that exists in the early moments of each weekday in New York City. As I take my varied daily route through Murray Hill, I am primed for the small discoveries. The resulting collection is growing, such that I have committed one of my web site galleries to iPhoneography. I have posted a few examples with this blog entry as usual, but be sure to stop by the iPhoneography Gallery to see the rest of a continuously expanding collection of images. One photograph, 'An Intersection of Metals', was even selected for the juried photography show currently being exhibited in the Kiernan Gallery's 'iSpy: Camera Phone Photography Show' in Lexington, Virginia.
(click on image to enlarge) An Intersection of Metals
It seems the late night creativity has taken a little bit of a hit as of late, but creativity finds a way. This time, it came out through a little camera phone and a series of unexpected but intriguing photographs.