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Len Bernstein
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bensonhurst


ARTIST STATEMENT: When I began to photograph over 40 years ago, I found a way of expressing myself that met something so deep inside me that I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. Walking with my camera, the city streets seemed transformed--friendlier, more interesting--and I spent hours searching for dramatic situations, trying to capture the right moment. Looking through the viewfinder, what I saw had new value for me, boredom and loneliness seemed to vanish, and I wished I could feel that way all the time. And hoping to learn what made a photograph successful, I avidly studied the history and technique of photography.

My hopes were met when I first heard this principle stated by Eli Siegel, the American critic and founder of the philosophy Aesthetic Realism: “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” I've had the thrill of testing this principle in thousands of instances, from the first known photograph taken by Nicéphore Niépce around 1826 to the most modern work of today. It explains what makes a photograph good and how our personal questions are the questions of art--dignified and cultural!


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Len Bernstein is a photographer and educator who has taught students from kindergarten through college, and whose images are in many private and public collections. His articles—published in the US, Canada, England, Australia, and Africa—are informed by a careful study of the medium, and the philosophy Aesthetic Realism—in classes first with its founder, Eli Siegel, and now with Chairman of Education, Ellen Reiss. His book, Photography, Life, and the Opposites, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Coles, received a Star Review in Library Journal. Recently he delivered the keynote speech that closed the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in New York City.

Public Lectures and Workshops
New York State Art Teachers Association, New York
New York City Art Teachers Association, New York
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada
Newport Art Museum, Rhode Island
High School of Art and Design, New York
Florida Art Education Association, Naples
The University of Northampton, England
New Directions in the Humanities: University of California (LA)
The Arts in Society: University of Sydney, Australia
Foundations of Inquiry: New York Institute of Technology, New York
Norman Thomas High School, New York
Edward R. Murrow High School, New York
Sullivan County Community College, New York
Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Oahu
International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, Illinois
Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Nevada
Queens Library, New York
Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County, New Jersey
Brooklyn Camera Club, New York
Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, New York
Creative Arts Workshop, Connecticut
International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA, New York

Selected Photography Seminars - Aesthetic Realism Foundation, New York
Lewis Hine: Criticism and kindness in documentary photography
Robert Capa: Courage in photography and in life
Gordon Parks: What is a man’s greatest victory?
W. Eugene Smith: Man—scornful and praising
Alfred Stieglitz: Self-expression as justice
Ansel Adams: Art stands for our greatest ambition
Jacob Riis: What do the world and people deserve?

Public Collections
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Missouri
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland
Portland Art Museum, Oregon
The Brooklyn Museum, New York
Museum of the City of New York, New York
The New York Public Library, New York
Museum of The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York

Selected Articles
2001 “What Do the World and People Deserve? Jacob Riis, Photographer” (Photographica World - The Journal of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain)
2001 “The Inspired State of Mind” (Metered Reading - September)
2001 “Candid Photography and the Meaning of ‘Real-Life’” (Apogee Photo Magazine)
2003 “Photography” (lichen: a literary journal - Vol. 5/Spring)
2003 “Portraiture: the Pleasure of Knowing People” (Journal of the Print World - Vol. 26/Winter)
2003 “Acclaimed Teacher Inspires Students” (New York State English Council Annual Conference Book)
2010 “People on an Escalator Share a Dream” (The Birmingham Times; Tennessee Tribune; The Philadelphia Sunday Sun; La Vida News of Houston; African Herald Express)
2010 “The Cause of Hazing and How It Can End” (The Birmingham Times, The Philadelphia Bulletin; Tennessee Tribune)
2011 “What Does It Mean to Have a Beautiful Way of Seeing?” (The Tennessee Tribune – Vol. 22; The Philadelphia Sunday Sun – June 5; The Birmingham Times – June 2; Sullivan County Democrat – June 7)

1999 “Three Photographers at the Terrain Gallery” by Alma Vincent (The Villager – Vol. 69; The New Voice of New York – Vol. 41; Caribbean Life)
2000 “Three Photographers at the Terrain Gallery” by Alma Vincent (Journal of the Print World – Vol. 23/Winter)
2003 “Gazing into the mystery of photography” by Ted Waddell, exhibition review and interview with Len Bernstein (Sullivan County Democrat – Vol. CXII, No. 53)
2007 “Emotion — in Black & White and Color” by Len Bernstein (Journal of the Print World – Vol. 30/Summer)
2013 Review of “Photography, Life, and the Opposites” by Harvey Spears (Journal of the Print World – Vol. 36/April)
2013 First Look at New Books, April 12, 2013: “Photography, Life, and the Opposites” by Raymond Bial (Library Journal)
2014 “Len Bernstein: Photography Beyond the Surface” by Frank Rizzo (The Sullivan County Democrat – Vol. CXXIII, No. 65)

One Person Exhibitions
1998 “Proud Moments,” Pleiades Gallery, New York
1999 Museum of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York
2000 “The Wonder of the Everyday,” Pleiades Gallery, New York
2007 University of Northampton, Northampton, England
2013 Terrain Gallery, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions
1983: “big & small,” Terrain Gallery, New York
1984 – 85: Traveling exhibition sponsored by Art Against Apartheid
1985: “Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites? - Intersection 85,” Terrain Gallery, New York
1992: “Recent Acquisitions: Photography,” The New York Public Library, New York
1998: “One World: Eight Points-of-View,” Pleiades Gallery, New York
1999: “Three Photographers,” Terrain Gallery, New York
2000: “Terrain Gallery 45th Anniversary Exhibition,” Terrain Gallery, New York
2001: “Dressing for a New York City Childhood,” Museum of the City of New York, New York
2003: “Photography: In Black and White,” New York Law School, New York
2003: “The Surprising and Abiding Opposites,” Terrain Gallery, New York
2004: “Photography: In Black and White,” New York Mercantile Exchange, New York
2007: “Emotion—in Black & White and Color,” Terrain Gallery, New York
2010: “Childhood: An International Photo Exhibition,” Dougherty Art Center, Texas
2011: “The Chelsea International Fine Art Competition Exhibition,” Agora Gallery, New York
2014: “Arte Laguna International Exhibition,” Arsenale Venice, Italy
2015: “Virtual Exhibition,” The Baker Museum, Naples, Florida

Contact Info
Tel. 917-589-5729 • •


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