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

Posted in Uncategorized on July 5, 2015 by maine1nyc

Another Big Historic Victory for the Greek people with today’s vote on the bailout deal that they were threatened with.

harveyspearsphotography

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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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…

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Rollin’ on the East River

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2015 by maine1nyc

harveyspearsphotography

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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 Yorkers 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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Cityscapes II: NYC Graffiti & Wall Art

Posted in Art, Exhibit, Landscape, New York, Photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2012 by maine1nyc

Wherever you live, chances are sooner or later that you are going to come upon some kind of graffiti or wall art.

Some of the wonderful sights in NYC are the many different kinds of graffiti and wall painting that we see all over the 5 boroughs. Unfortunately, some appear where they shouldn’t, but many times they are in just the right places, such as in areas that could use some added life. The artisans that create them are of varying skills and styles, yet when the work is done with the purpose of having a good effect on people, that’s just what it does. We are encouraged to see new possibilities where they may not have been seen. Some offer up social or political commentary, but more often than not they have a kind of humor that will put a smile on your face.

While these works are done on various surfaces, including brick and metal, they follow in a long tradition of some Italian Renaissance painters whose work was displayed outdoors in “A secco” painting done on dry plaster.

Here are some I found in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan.

Though these works will likely not be found in a museum any time soon, we are lucky to have them out there in the streets for all to discover and enjoy.

Hail Graffiti & Wall Artists!

PS. If you cannot discover any in your area you can be sure they are waiting for you here in NYC.

The Pulaski Bridge Overlook, or

Posted in American History, Art, Beauty, Boats, Landscape, New York, Photography, Rivers, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2012 by maine1nyc

from Queens with Love II

From “The Pioneers” by James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851). Natty Bumppo speaking to his young friend by the water. “There’s a place in them hills that I used to climb to, when I wanted to see the carryings on of the world, that would well pay any man for a burked shin or a torn moccasin….”What do you see when you get there? asked Edwards. “Creation!” said Natty, dropping the end of his rod into the water, and sweeping one hand around him in a circle—“all creation, lad.”

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While this is not the Catskill overlook in the Hudson Valley with the Hudson River below that Cooper was writing about, you don’t have to be in the country to have the kind of emotion that his hero, Natty Bumppo had while you are visiting the Pulaski Bridge overlooking the Newtown Creek connecting Brooklyn and Queens.

Everywhere you look there are vistas of both the natural and man-made world. From the panoramic views of Manhattan, to the industrial and commercial buildings, new and old residential spaces, the highways, tugboats, barges, bridges, wildlife, people working on Newtown Creek…there is no end to what can affect you. Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism, said that “The world is more friendly than you know.”, and I was excited to discover how true this is at the Pulaski Bridge Overlook in Long Island City.

For more views of this area check out the Pulaski Bridge Gallery on my website. If you haven’t read Part I click here. And for a very informative and historical update on this area visit the Newtown Creek Alliance website.

From Queens with Love

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Beauty, Boats, Landscape, New York, Photography, Rivers, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2012 by maine1nyc

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While I was photographing from the Pulaski Bridge that connects Brooklyn and Queens, overlooking Newtown Creek, I recalled one of my most joyful memories growing up in Queens, NY. It was the sight of the New York City skyline looking west down a long stretch of Queens Boulevard from Rego Park. No matter what time of day, or weather, this magical and wonderful vision conjured up so many thoughts and emotions that affected my whole life. What I was not aware of was that while I was admiring the beauty that was in the distance, I was almost oblivious to the beauty all around me right here in Queens.

The reason something makes for beauty, I learned from the education Aesthetic Realism founded by the poet and critic Eli Siegel, and why I and millions of people are so affected by the NY Skyline, is because of how it puts opposites together. Opposites like Universe and Object. New York while conveying its own particular character also represents a universal humanity that comes from all parts of our globe to work and live here. From his definitive essay on the nature of beauty, “Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?” Mr. Siegel writes about these opposites:

UNIVERSE & OBJECT: DOES every work of art have a certain precision about something, a certain concentrated exactness, a quality of particular existence?—and does every work of art, nevertheless, present in some fashion the meaning of the whole universe, something suggestive of wide existence, something that has an unbounded significance beyond the particular?

The beauty to be found in the Pulaski Bridge area near Long Island City, embodies these opposites in a deep and exciting way. It’s a location with its own character—a hub of many aspects that affects one as you look around. It’s a visual destination for a photographer. It’s also an area in transition, hosting residential and cultural attractions. And while it’s clearly industrial it also hosts the recreational—many sailboats and even kayaks where people can sail down the East River and beyond.

There are also vistas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and many of the City’s bridges. It’s a crossroads of humanity where persons walk, bike and run from one great borough to another. I was taken by the close proximity of the people who earn their living here, like the men who operate the tugs hauling barges to all points of the city and beyond, to those enjoying a sail. There is a railroad transporting commuters and freight. You can even see the entrance of the Midtown tunnel from a high point. This may not thrill some, however when you stop and think about how it connects millions of people from other parts of NY to Manhattan, it is thrilling.

Like Queens itself, that embodied the hopes of farmers who first settled what was to become the oldest ongoing working farm in New York State, Queens Farm (1697), to the borough that has the largest diverse ethnic population in the city, the Long Island City area represents not only itself but the hopes of people everywhere. And that is why I say “From Queens with Love.”

The Welcome Guest

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Landscape, New York, Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2012 by maine1nyc

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A reason I love wildlife & landscape photography is because it not only encourages you to see meaning in the vast landscapes beyond, but also in the vistas right under our noses. I publish two maxims that I care for, by Eli Siegel from his book “Damned Welcome: Aesthetic Realism Maxims” (Definition Press), that honors not only the purpose that every photographer should have, but also that of every person.

#258 Every object is politely and persistently looking for your accurate attention.

#146 The insect has a Goal; and the amoeba an Aim.

Why We Need to Show Our Support for the American Farmer

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2012 by maine1nyc

Last January, I attended a rally at Foley Square, NYC in support of farmers from Maine to California. They came to testify “in the first phase of a court case filed to protect farmers from genetic trespass by Monsanto’s GMO seed, which contaminates organic and non-GMO farmer’s crops and opens them up to abusive lawsuits.”  As I heard men and women speak with great feeling about their farms which provide nourishing, healthy food to the American people, I was stirred thinking that they are like the farmers in the American Revolution who fought to protect their right to freedom which included farming the land.  I also felt the urgency of a question asked by Eli Siegel, American philosopher and founder of the education Aesthetic Realism.

“To whom should the land of America, with its wealth, belong—
to all Americans, or to a few?” 

As more people than ever know, farmers, struggling to earn a living, are being persuaded to use these GMO seeds, including corn, alfalfa, and soybeans.  Naturally, the farmers are told the seeds are “healthy” and “safe.”  However, these seeds don’t stay put.  Often they are carried by winds to farms that don’t want GMO seeds, and their crops end up being tainted anyway. There’s no way to stop this.  Many scientists have written extensively on the harmful effects of GMO seeds in the food chain, and while all the effects are unknown, the possibilities are frightening.  To compound this unfair situation, Monsanto sues those framers who won’t use their corrupted seeds, (but whose crops have become tainted through no fault of their own) for “patent infringement”.  The Food Democracy blog explains:

Between 1997 and 2010, 144 farmers have already been sued by Monsanto and another 700 have settled out of court for undisclosed sums. Many times these abusive lawsuits force farmers into bankruptcy and off the land. We can’t allow this to continue.

I learned that yearly a farmer carefully examines his seed and selects the best so his crops will be even better for the next harvest. The seed is the core of a farmer’s crop and any infringement on it can mean ruin. Some farmers have had to stop planting corn for instance, because they are worried about getting sued by Monsanto.  It’s apparent that Monsanto feels they have the right to manipulate the land for their own profit.  It is outrageous and unconscionable that the people who grow the food we need for our very survival should have this completely unnecessary worry.

As a photographer, who has photographed the rich farmlands of New York State and Maine, I have a large respect and gratitude for the scientific expertise and dedication of America’s farmers.  They are the life’s blood of our nation, and any attempt to rob them of their livelihoods is blatantly unjust.   In a commentary to The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, Ellen Reiss writes about ethical decisions that have come to be in America. They include:

government protections against tainted food.  Each ethical decision came to be only because people fought for it courageously… Mr. Siegel showed the world is demanding, and going toward, a basis for production other than the profit motive…This new economics is something that has not existed before, but is in keeping with the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution. It’s economics based on ethics and aesthetics: the oneness of justice to each individual and justice to all people. He explained: 

“The world should be owned by the people living in it. Every person should be seen as living in a world truly his. All persons should be seen as living in a world truly theirs.” 

Though the farmers recently lost the lawsuit in a New York court, they will appeal. Theirs is a tremendously important struggle that impacts the life of every American.   We have the right and obligation to make sure that the food we put into our bodies is good for us to eat.  This means demanding that our government and courts speak for all of us and ensure that the land and its people are protected.

For more information about:
Food Democracy: www.fooddemocracynow.org/
Aesthetic Realism: www.aestheticrealism.org
OSGATA:  Organic Seed Growers Assocation:  www.osgata.org/

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