Archive for the Art Category

Autumn on the Move in NYC

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Autumn, Beauty, Birds, Fall, New York, New York Landmarks, Parks, Photography, Poetry, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on November 10, 2015 by maine1nyc

My wife, Carol Driscoll, and I wanted to honor the waning Fall season by discovering a place which we have never been before, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas in NYC. And are we glad we did! There are areas in this park where you can get a sense of what it must have felt like in NY hundreds of years ago. It has a rich history, and is a must visit, or I should say many visits, for a landscape photographer.

pigeon on rock 3ret copy

It is an area that many winged beings like to visit. We didn’t see any unusual fliers this day, but were favorited by a being that is much taken for granted, including by myself, in NY—the pigeon. However, I was affected by this photo that Carol took, that had me reconsider. I’m also including a poem by Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, which can have all of us value this most overlooked bird in a new and surprising way.

New York Pigeons
By Ellen Reiss

New York City pigeons are bold.
They peruse the ledgers of dead economies.
They give me critical looks.

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In Praise of Puffins

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Art, Beauty, Birds, Maine, Photography, Puffins, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2015 by maine1nyc

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(Click image to make larger)

Like many people I love Puffins. And a maxim that I care for very much by Eli Siegel from his book of maxims, Damned Welcome, had me appreciate Puffins even more as I took this photo on Machias Seal Island off the Maine Coast.

The strange really has a smile on its face; you should welcome it with open arms.

Stay tuned for more Puffin sightings to come.

Greek Independence Day Parade, or Pride Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Art, Beauty, Ethics, Greece, Independence Day, Parades, Photography, Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2015 by maine1nyc

Every year I look forward to photographing this wonderful event, and every time I’m taken by it as if for the first time. Like so many others, I love Greece’s history and how from ancient times through the present, it has added centrally to our lives and to the culture of the whole world. Its meaning is very large, including how its people met challenge after challenge, finally winning a hard fought independence from the Ottoman Turks in 1821.

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 (Click photos to enlarge.)

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I was particularly affected by the expressions of the people around me as they showed great pride, not hubris, including in their gestures, as they marched up Fifth Avenue, or watched from the sidelines. I was taken by the array of costumes that spanned many centuries of Greek history and how proudly the people wore them. I hope what I witnessed this day encourages the people of Greece to meet what they are enduring today, with the kind of persistence for justice that they have shown. It will encourage all of us. I quote a poem, along with its note, by the esteemed poet and historian Eli Siegel which stirs me greatly. The poem, a translation of Simonides (556—468 BC), is an honoring of those who fell at the battle of Thermopylae (480 BC).

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At Thermopylae, By Simonides of Ceos
                           Translation by Eli Siegel

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

From THE POEMS LOOKED AT: or, NOTES: At Thermopylae, By Simonides of Ceos. 1967. The two lines of Simonides of Ceos, translated here, have been translated often. I felt that free verse, casual and falling carefully, might do something useful with the Greek. There is a high, sharp sadness in “O stranger,” followed by an inevitable request in the Greek; and this I aim for, in the first line. In the second line there is the lasting submission of “That we lie here,” followed by the large pride of “true to their laws.” Government and pathos merge delicately and mightily in the second line. And as the Lacedaemonians are told, the telling goes on to and for everyone—for the  everyone of now, the person of now. Simonides shows us this is how he saw it; this is how, as poet, he desired it.

From Hail, American Development (Definition Press)
© 1968 by Eli Siegel

To see more photos click here.

Sunset Over the Former Domino Sugar Plant—2014

Posted in American History, Art, Beauty, Bridges with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2014 by maine1nyc
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“He used to say that he never felt the hardness of the human struggle or the sadness of history as he felt it among those ruins. He used to say, too, that it made one feel an obligation to do one’s best.” —Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark

 

Montauk Lighthouse Landscape

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Autumn, Beaches, Beauty, Fall, Landscape, Lighthouse, New York, New York Landmarks, Parks, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2014 by maine1nyc
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On a recent visit with my wife Carol to Montauk, LI to experience the last days of the fall season, I was reminded of just how beautiful this place really is. And as a special treat we were greeted with “breeze’n up” weather—great for photographing. As we approached one of the most photographed and historic lighthouses in the country, I was affected by how the surrounding reeds interacted with the lighthouse. The wind was blowing hard, with gusts of up to 50 mph, yet the reeds showed their strength & grace. They held their own, even as they swayed while the lighthouse stood firmly in the distance, somewhat blurred by the reeds. I wanted to capture not only the motion of the reeds, but also their individuality as they moved, because I felt this would highlight their graceful strength in relation to the stolid lighthouse.

I am stirred by this critically important essay, by Eli Siegel, “Art as Flexibility.” As he writes you get a new insight into how crucial this aspect of art is. It begins:

“Art shows reality as resisting, bending; asserting, fading—which is how it is. Reality is as it changes, and flexibility in art is a visual likelihood of a thing’s changing in space, while remaining what it is. As a stem of a flower sways in the wind, we have a sight of flexibility. Yieldingness as sight is much in pictures; the yieldingness that makes for strength is what we look for in art.”

Copyright © by Definition Press 1960, 1962, 1974

Your creative imagination will be inspired after reading this work. If you would like to see more of my photos of Montauk visit my web-site: harveyspears.com

Super Moon Over Brooklyn 2014

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Art, Beauty, Landscape, New York, New York Landmarks, Photography, Rivers with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2014 by maine1nyc

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This was surely one of the best moons I ever saw in NYC. Wow! I hope these photos do some justice to what I saw. I also include a poem by Eli Siegel that I love and believe honors the large meaning of the moon. (Click photos to enlarge.)
Girl and Moon

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The Race on Two NYC Rivers

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Beauty, Boats, Landscape, New York, New York Landmarks, Photography, Rivers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2014 by maine1nyc

It was one of those rare Summer days in NYC when the weather couldn’t get any better, and it was perfect for the Liberty Challenge, hosted by NY Outrigger. From the Hudson to the East River, where I was stationed, back to the Hudson, people came out to watch this event, on sailboats, tour ships, and all along the shores. (Click photos to enlarge.)_P1C4577-Edit As I was watching the ever-changing panorama before me, I couldn’t help remembering another famous chase that took place right here in these same waters not long after the Island went from the Dutch to the English. It is written with all the nautical drama that one could hope for by the noted NY writer, James Fenimore Cooper, in his novel published in 1830, The Water Witch or The Skimmer of the Seas. While the 2 ships that Cooper writes of are quite different than the craft in the Liberty Challenge, the emotion that both made for in people had a lot in common. I’m grateful to have learned from Eli Siegel that Cooper was one of America’s greatest writers, and one

“…of the thirty or so great writers of the world of all time… One of the words for Cooper in the history of the art of literature, is indispensable … he is on the side of those matters which it is still permissible to call creation and beauty.” (TRO, #740).

Whenever beauty occurs, I learned from Aesthetic Realism, opposites are made one, the same opposites that we are trying to see better in ourselves. It’s in this principle of Aesthetic Realism: “The world, art, and self explain each other; each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites.”

I believe the Liberty Challenge event had beauty in it. I was affected by how the crews of one craft after another maneuvered their way along a course that has fast and dangerous currents with great motion & energy, while also showing ease as they seemed to pause or rest to avoid many other craft like tour boats and barges that were all about. I was both thrilled and composed as I looked on with excitement._P1C4607-Edit As Cooper writes about the pursuit of one ship trying to overtake another, words that have stirred people for nearly 184 years, we too are affected by how the opposites of energy & rest are so much of one another—many oars acting as one.

“We must pull for our own safety, and that of the brigantine, my men;” said the Skimmer, springing into his boat and seizing the tiller—”A quick stroke, and a strong!–here is no time for holiday feathering, or your man-of-war jerk! Give way, boys; give way, with a will, and together!”

These were sounds that had often saluted the ears of men engaged in the hazardous pursuit of his crew. The oars fell into the water at the same moment, and, quick as thought, the light bark was in the strength of the current. (Chapter XXVIII)

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Both the Liberty Challenge and the work of James Fenimore Cooper enabled me to see more meaning and have more feeling about the world on a beautiful summer day.

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