An Approach to Art and Life Based on the Aesthetic Realism of Eli Siegel


Welcome to my website . . .

My name is Len Bernstein,
and when I began to photograph almost 40 years ago, I felt 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!

I encourage you to click on the links below, which include an introduction to my new book, Photography, Life, and the Opposites. You will learn more about the magnificent education that explains the deep, practical relation between art and how we hope to see the world we are meeting every moment of every day.

Biography    Workshops and Lectures     Contact     Purchase Prints

To view photographs by Len Bernstein click here


New Keynote speech at the International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy in the USA

Just published. . . PHOTOGRAPHY, LIFE, and the OPPOSITES by Len Bernstein
"Anyone who likes photography, from young amateur to seasoned professional, will love this book."Library Journal
"It is clear that Len Bernstein is a connoisseur of human gesture and expression."John Loengard, LIFE photographer
"The art of photography begins long before we ever pick up a camera; it begins with how we see the whole world." Sullivan County Democrat

New Workshop
"I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the workshop. I see many things differently now and it is quite fulfilling. I have you to thank for that.—Joe Csuka, Creative Arts Workshop, CT
"Your presentation was extraordinary! You really connected with a lot of members and certainly delivered a presentation that exceeded my criteria for presenters which is to 'Inform, Inspire, and Challenge!'"—Jack Renner, Photographers' Guild at the Newport Art Museum, RI

Published Articles about Art and Ethics

People on an Escalator Share A Dream
published in Tennesse Tribune,
The Birmingham Times
, The Philadelphia Sun,
La Vida News of Houston, Texas,
and African Herald Express

Len Bernstein: Photography beyond the surface
A new full page feature article in
Sullivan County Democrat

What Do the World and People Deserve? The Photographs of Jacob Riis
published in Photographica World
The Journal of the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain

Portraiture: The Pleasure of Knowing People
published in Journal of the Print World
Photography, Life, and the Opposites
a workshop at Sullivan County Community College
published in Sullivan County Democrat

Gazing into the Mystery of Photography
published in Sullivan County Democrat

Candid Photography,
and the Meaning of "Real-Life"
published in Apogee Photo Magazine

Open Mike at Peez Leweez
published in The River Reporter

What will make our roads safe?
published in The River Reporter and Tucson Citizen
The Cause of Hazing and How It Can End
published in The Birmingham Times,
The Bulletin - Philadelphia's Family Newspaper,
Tennessee Tribune

Other Articles

Ego or Justice? The Raging Fight in Every Man -- a discussion of the play Abraham Lincoln by John Drinkwater and a portrait of Lincoln by Alexander Gardner
Is Kindness Possible in Sex? -- an Aesthetic Realism consideration of The Animal Kingdom, a play by Philip Barry
Life Gets Around -- a discussion of the play Detective Story by Sidney Kingsley

Can Men Be Strong and Tender? from an Aesthetic Realism public seminar titled
"Do Men and Women Have the Same Question about Strength and Tenderness?"

Art, Science, and Ourselves!
I highly recommend the following articles and books:

Gwe: Young Man of New Guinea by Arnold Perey
How Musical Can Sadness Be?--or, Grief, Anger, Hope
The Teaching of Science & How Our Schools Can Really Suceed!
Triumph and Sadness: Opposites in Ourselves and in Nat Fein's Photo of Babe Ruth's Farewell
Children's Guide to Parents & Other Matters by Eli Siegel
The Miracle at Verdun
Richard Rodgers' South Pacific
A New Care for Knowledge & People

Terrain Gallery Exhibitions

click here to visit New York exhibit

click here to read a review of this thrilling exhibit
published in The Tennessee Tribune

“The purpose of photography,” Eli Siegel explained, “is to create an emotion about the world through what has been carefully seen and selected.” I have learned that emotion has to do with every technical choice photographers make—from deciding what to include and exclude in the viewfinder, to selecting a moment that we hope conveys eternal meaning.

Click here to read a review of
EMOTION — in BLACK & WHITE and COLOR published in Journal of the Print World.

An Exhibition with Comment featuring the work of three photographers who have seen the enormous value of Aesthetic Realism for art and for life.

Review in Journal of the Print World

Suggested Reading

All photographs on are 
© 2014 by Len Bernstein, unless otherwise noted. 
Your comments are welcome 
via e-mail: click here