Roll’n on the East River

Posted in Beauty, Landscape, New York, Photography, Rivers, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by maine1nyc

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Usually the main attractions here are the waterfront views and the tugboats & barges that help keep NYC movi’n. But this is Spring migration along the North American Flyway, and the East River is a great stopover for many birds to their final destination. I spotted a group of Red-breasted Mergansers just taking in the sights and looking for a bite to eat. These beautiful ducks joined Mallards and the resident Gulls & Cormorants in having a good time enjoying a premier waterway in NY. And thanks to Mayor de Blasio, the East River will host a spectacular July 4th fireworks display for all New Yorker’s and visitors to enjoy. The ducks will probably have gone but their vibrant color & energy will be in the night sky. But that’s another blog for July.

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Greek Independence Day—A Day To Remember

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Art, Beauty, Ethics, Greece, New York, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by maine1nyc

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It may have been a chilly overcast day this past Sunday at The Greek Independence Day Parade in NYC, but from the expressions of pride & joy, along with an unquenchable energy parading up 5th Avenue, you would have thought the Sun God Apollo was in full force. It was a real pleasure to be at this event along with my wife Carol, and be affected by the many paraders and spectators who came to esteem a people and their cultural history, that not only honors Greece but has had, and continues to have, a profound & everlasting effect on Western Civilization and the whole world. As I thought about the meaning of this day, the translation by poet and philosopher Eli Siegel, of an important Greek poem written thousands of years ago, kept coming to mind called “At Thermopylae, By Simonides of Ceos.” (Click link to read entire poem with comment)

O stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians
That we lie here, true to their laws.

I am stirred as I read these lines to think about what these courageous men fought & died for enable us today to live in the midst of a democracy. I believe we owe them and ourselves to be true to this early beautiful idea.

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An Overcast Day in New York Harbor

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Beauty, Boats, Bridges, Landscape, Lighthouse, New York, Photography, Rivers, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by maine1nyc

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On a recent day-trip with the Audubon Water Taxi in NY I had the opportunity to see some of NY Harbor that I hadn’t seen. Unfortunately the weather was more overcast than I would have hoped for, however it did make for a kind beauty all the same. Along with a sense of mystery, there was a stillness that went hand in hand with a slow kind of motion that was very taking. I hope I captured some of that feeling in these photos. Also there were the local residents, one of which greeted us, which you don’t often get a glimpse of. I was reminded of a maxim by Eli Siegel from his book “Damned Welcome“, that encouraged me as I looked about. “If anything can please you, don’t narrow the field.”

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A Winter’s Tale—Warwick, NY 2014

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Art, Beauty, Landscape, New York, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2014 by maine1nyc

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While most of us are tired of dealing with snow and look forward to warmer days, it’s good to be reminded that winter also has a special kind of beauty to be found at no other time of year. On my recent visit to Warwick, NY I discovered dramatic and vivid scenes everywhere I looked. Warwick is beautiful anytime of year with its rich “Black Dirt” that produces some of the best farm products in the country, as well as being known for its horses. But today the snow took center stage with a magical kind of light that only winter has.

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When I returned home and began to process the photo directly above taken at the Warwick Valley Winery, I was struck by how much I was affected by it.  So much so that I brought it to a monthly workshop for visual artists that I look forward to and have a great time in:  The Critical Inquiry, taught at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation by painter and consultant, Dorothy Koppelman.

In this workshop artists are encouraged to look critically at their own work and those of fellow-artists, using as our basis this ground-breaking principle stated by Eli Siegel in 1955: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”

In a discussion about my photo, Mrs. Koppelman commented on the juxtapostion of the two dark bottles on the right and the translucent bottle on the left, and said: “There is mystery here, a story of things being hidden and shown, a relation of proud transparency and snuggling hiddenness is something you’re dealing with.” And she asked: I imagine you’re like other people in having these opposites in yourself?”

“Yes, they are!”   I was thrilled seeing that the dramatic opposites of hidden and shown, which, as photographer I was trying to give form to in this still life, are the same opposites that as a person, I hope to do a better job with.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the meaning of winter, photography and oneself.

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To see more images of Warwick Winter visit my web site.
To learn more about Aesthetic Realism visit their website.

Cityscape & Poem

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Landscape, New York, Photography with tags , , , on January 26, 2014 by maine1nyc

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“Smoke Goes Up Slowly” from Hot Afternoons Have Been In Montana: Poems by Eli Siegel ©1957

Other poems by Eli Siegel

Sunrise & Snow—NYC 2014

Posted in Beauty, Landscape, New York, Photography with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by maine1nyc

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First the City was graced with deep rich color from the sunrise. Then—just over an hour later…color and visibility vanished with the oncoming snow.

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Back Into Time

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Horses, Landscape, Movies, New York, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by maine1nyc

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As I stepped out of my apartment on the Lower East Side in Manhattan I was surprised to find myself asking what century was I in? Streets were transformed into the early 20th century, as the film produced by Steven Soderbergh, “The Knick,” was in the midst of being filmed. The presence of the past along with the present was thrilling and had me yearn somewhat for a time when horses were our best transportation, and Buffalo Bill was a star attraction.

How necessary it is to understand and see meaning in the past is written of by Ellen Reiss in her stirring commentary to TRO #1393, “History: Our Friend.” She writes:

“Eli Siegel said in this lecture [Poetry and History], ‘No person can understand himself who is not interested in history.’ We need to see ourselves as related to the past — and not in any vague way: to the facts, happenings, feelings which people real as ourselves had about love, food, money, religion, land, relatives, fun, and their own past. Aesthetic Realism explains that the most hurtful thing in self is to see ourselves as not related to other things and people. The more civilized we are, and intelligent, the more we see ourselves as related to, and the more deeply we see our relation.”

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