Archive for New York

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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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.

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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

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.

Fall Splendor in the Hudson Valley 2013

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Beauty, Landscape, New York, Parks, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2013 by maine1nyc

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“Leaves, when they rustle, nod approval both to the tree and to the earth from which they come.” — From Damned Welcome: Aesthetic Realism Maxims by Eli Siegel, Maxim 245

_P1C3117-EditTo see more Hudson Valley/Lake Minnewaska, NY 

Sleepy Hollow • Tarrytown Lighthouse

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Beauty, Landscape, Lighthouse, New York, Parks, Photography, Rivers with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by maine1nyc

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Nestled on the shores of the picturesque Hudson River, between the towns of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (Washington Irving country), lies one of many New York State lighthouses—Sleepy Hollow • Tarrytown Lighthouse built in 1883. The lighthouse is about 32 miles going north from NYC, just past the historic Tappan Zee Bridge. It was once so important to navigation and commerce, but now it still sits proudly on the Hudson, and gives one the thrill of beholding it today. The lighthouse joins a colorful and rich history, and the ever so immediate present with the river and surrounding hills bearing witness. It illustrates, I learned from my study of Aesthetic Realism, what every person is hoping to do a better job with—understand how our own past and the immediacy of the present can be better seen. The Sleepy Hollow • Tarrytown lighthouse can encourage us to be more thoughtful about how to better relate these ever so important opposites of past & present in ourselves.

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Botanicals

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Art, Beauty, Landscape, Maine, New York, Parks, Photography, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2013 by maine1nyc

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Why are people so affected by flowers? It seems like an easy question, or maybe one with a lot of different aspects, but I think worth giving some more thought. I started looking freshly at flowers again through my camera and was stirred in new ways—like the way they can take the light or even convey an attitude or feeling.

I am affected by how the poet and philosopher Eli Siegel writes about the relation of flowers to feeling in his lecture “Feeling Is in Science.”

“Flowers have given rise to feeling, and we soon run out of adjectives. The lily is pure. The violet is modest. The rose is proud. The hydrangea is flaunting. The carnation is confused (which it may be or not). The chrysanthemum is ostentatious. The rhododendron is uppity. We haven’t given feelings to all the flowers, but the more a flower is looked at, the more one can give it feeling….The important thing is 1) whether there is feeling possible from every object, and 2) whether that feeling will ever run out.

To read more click here

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For more of my botanicals click here.

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