Archive for Art

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.

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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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Fall in Maine—Not Just Another Pretty Face

Posted in Acadia, Aesthetic Realism, Autumn, Beauty, Brunswick, Camden, Fall, Landscape, Maine, Photography with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by maine1nyc

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Fall in Maine is one of the most vibrant and colorful places that you will ever experience. If you click the link below you will see what I mean. Fall is also about how some things can take on aspects that seem at first sight so unattractive, yet looked at more closely, they are simply beautiful—like the gourds on this page. This, I learned from Aesthetic Realism, is universally true because of the opposites, expressed by Eli Siegel in this statement, “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”

The photos were taken in the Acadia, Camden & Brunswick areas of Maine. It was my great pleasure to be there and witness such beauty. Click here.

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Squirrels of Corlears Park

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Beauty, New York, New York Landmarks, Parks, Photography, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on May 17, 2015 by maine1nyc

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(Click photo to enlarge.)

In preparation for a trip later this year to photograph Puffins in Maine, I thought it would be a good idea to practice on some fast moving, but oh so common beings, like the squirrel. New York doesn’t have that mysterious & colorful Puffin—but boy do we have squirrels!

Was I surprised to find out how wrong I was taking so ordinary a being, like the squirrel, for granted. As I followed some around on their adventures I was surprised to see how much I was affected by them. Not only are they fast, but they’re inquisitive and daring, they’re industrious and can be quarrelsome, and they have a kind of grandeur. I was taken by how many traits that we have in common—not the least of which is a deep pleasure that can be felt when they take in the world through food. I felt both criticized and inspired when I read this maxim by Eli Siegel, “What we’re used to, if explored, will surprise.”

As I left the park and looked behind at the squirrels I was grateful to them for showing me how wonderfully surprising what I see all the time can be if I looked with fresh eyes. Click here for more squirrels.

Finally—It’s Here!

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Beauty, Landscape, New York, Photography, Poetry, Spring with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2015 by maine1nyc

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A favorite poem of mine by Eli Siegel. Spring is really happening this year at last.

Come, Spring Flowers

Though the whole world will work to make you to,
I say, Come, spring flowers.

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

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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

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