Welcome to my home page

David M. Bernstein
Fine Art Photography
Aesthetic Realism Photographer since 1964
email: dbernstein15@nyc.rr.com



Permanent Exhibition, Opened February 2010:
National Park Service site in New York City:

African Burial Ground National Monument
(Broadway & Duane Street)
includes David M. Bernstein's photograph:
"Alvin Ailey Dancers at Burial Ground Dedication Ceremony"

News Updates: Two of my photographs appear in New York 400: A Visual History of America's Greatest City by John Thorn and Melanie Bower, with Images from the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY, 2009). "A stunning retrospective on the people and events that shaped New York." For info on this book, click here.
Coming soonphotos from the book launch at MCNY, September 2009, with John Thorn, and contributors Mike Wallace, Clarence Taylor, and Daniel Czitrom at which I was happy to participate.


Group Exhibition and Book, Museum of the City of New York,
"America's Mayor: John Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York," May 2010.

Biographical information:
My photography education began at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California, from which I graduated in 1956. Some reasons for my gratitude to Brooks are in a statement I wrote in May 2007, in remembrance of one of my instructors:

I was very moved to learn of the death of Herb Boggie. My earliest remembrance of him goes back so many years to October 1954, when I began studying at Brooks Institute. I was an arrogant and hopeful 17-year-old from the Bronx, with a turbulent life which included a big love for photography. Mr. Boggie was teaching Basic Sensitometry and Elemental Photography. There were, as I recall, about 30 students in the class. It already says something about the man that he could minister to so many at such an exciting time in our lives. I remember gratefully how he represented the Brooks Institute Philosophy of "Learn by doing," particularly in relation to the basic filter lesson; which has stayed with me all these years. If a student's composition wasn't just right, Herb Boggie would say "Reshoot and reprint the assignment." He encouraged respect for exactitute, which is so necessary. I remember with fondness the way he labored over teaching me the Bellows Extension Formula, which I had trouble with. He even sent an older student to work with me, to make sure I would measure the bellows correctly and learn the formula. Half a century later, I can still compute the formula and I always think of him gratefully for this.

My experience at Brooks Institute enabled me, in 1961, to welcome and value this principle of Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by the poet and philosopher, Eli Siegel: "All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves." Studying Aesthetic Realism has enabled me to see the relation of art and life that all artists yearn for.

I learned the basis of art from Aesthetic Realism. It is this principle, and I quote Mr. Siegel directly: "The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites."

     I want all photographers to experience the thrill of learning how such opposites as the immediate and the permanent, logic and emotion, simplicity and complexity are made one in a good photograph--and how we can learn from art to compose these opposites beautifully in our lives. 

     I had the honor to study in classes taught by Mr. Siegel, the most sensitive and knowledgable of scholars, and to be studying today in classes taught by Ellen Reiss, the Chairman of Aesthetic Realism. 


Some Milestones in My Career

1. One-Man Exhibition, New York World's Fair, New York, Hall of Education, 1964.ARWHBT
"The Bernstein Sight, made durable and tangible by a camera," DEFINITION 19

2. Aesthetic Realism: We Have Been ThereSix Artists on the Siegel Theory of Opposites (Definition Press: NY,1969-third printing, 1978), includes the chapter, "I Believe This About Photography" by David M. Bernstein.
Review by Ralph Hattersley in Popular Photography, click here
Review in the Library Journal, click here
To order book, click here

3. One-man exhibition, "The Lens Serves the Universe," Brooklyn College, 1974.

4. One-Man Exhibition, Sala de Cultura de la Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, 1976, with accompanying catalogue/statement, "I Learned This About Photography."
For review of exhibition, in Spanish, click here
, translated into English, click here

5. Macmillan Biographical Encyclopedia of Photographic Artists and Innovators by Turner Browne & Elaine Partnow (Macmillan: NY, 1983). For entry, click here

6. Photographs published in Encyclopedia Britannica, Time. New York Times,Camera 35, Houghton-Mifflin texts, Scholastic Magazine; newspapers and magazines throughout the country from 1969 up to the present, including featured photograph in National Park Service brochure for the African Burial Ground Memorial in New York City, and in the permanent exhibition there, opening in February 2010.

7. International Center for Photography (ICP), Aesthetic Realism Photographers speak at ICP Open Forum, including David Bernstein, Nancy Starrels, and Louis Dienes, 1975.

8. Photography Instructor at New York Institute of Photography, Pratt-Phoenix School of Design, and Germain School of Photography, with work in permanent public collections including the Western States Museum of Art (Santa Barbara), Museum of the City of New York, and private collections nationwide.

9. Group exhibition, 3 Photographers at the Terrain Gallery, 1999 with Louis Dienes and Len Bernstein. For announcement, click here.
Review of exhibition by Alma Vincent, click here

10. Group exhibition, Museum of the City of New York, "Horn & Hardart's Automat," 2002.

11. Exhibition and book, New York 400: A Visual History of America's Greatest City by John Thorn and Melanie Bower, with Images from the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY, 2009)

12. Permanent Exhibition, African Burial Ground National Monument, February, 2010.

13. Group Exhibition and book, Museum of the City of New York, "America's Mayor: John Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York," May 2010.


11. Group exhibition, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), "Life of the City," 2002.

12. "Bronzeville & Harlem: Photography & Justice" in Aesthetic Realism and the Answer
to Racism—Articles Published Nationwide
(Orange Angle Press, NY: 2004) click here

13. Still photography appears in Ken Kimmelman's award-winning film "Hot Afternoons
Have Been in Montana,"
2005. For film details, click here

14. Videographer and director of photography for over 140 interviews with unsung heroes, "The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights," conducted by journalist and Aesthetic Realism Associate Alice Bernstein, who I am happy to say is my wife. For details, click here.

Opening February 2010, permanent exhibition
National Park Service site in New York City--Broadway & Duane Street:

African Burial Ground National Monument
includes"Alvin Ailey Dancers at Burial Ground Dedication Ceremony"

photograph by D

avid M. Bernstein

     On the following pages you can see some examples of my work--photographic and written. Enjoy!

Restrospective Portfolio of Photographs--1950s to Now
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

"What Does a Person Deserve? The Answer Found in a Great Photograph" by David M. Bernstein.  Appeared in Caribbean Life.
The text of this article reads, in part: 
    I think Dorothea Lange's 1932 White Angel Breadline is one of the great photographs in this world. Its power, its beauty, its message, can be understood, felt more valuably and deeply through Aesthetic Realism.... Read White Angel Breadline.
I have presented papers on the relation of art and life in public seminars at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, a not-for-profit educational foundation located at 141 Greene St., NYC 10012, (212) 777-4490. In my paper, "What Is CourageIn Love, Economics, With People?" I discussed the life and work of Paul Strand. Click here for article.

Recent exhibitions include "Art in Free Fall" Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, BWAC, NY, Fall 2008
and Terrain Gallery (SoHo, NY)— Spring 2007:

Emotion in Black & White and Color
“The purpose of photography is to create an emotion about the world through what has been carefully seen and selected.” — Eli Siegel, Afternoon Regard for Photography
Dale Laurin • John Reddy • David Bernstein
Louis Dienes • Len Bernstein • Allan Michael
Vincent Di Pietro • Steve Poleskie • Wayne Mumford
Amy Dienes  • Dan McClung • Harvey Spears 
Perry Hall  • Doug Cox • Mary Fagan

for details, click here

for one of my works in the show, click here


As a Teamster retiree I am proud to share this powerful article by brother Timothy Lynch, President of Teamsters Local 1205:  "Union Leader Outlines Most Important Study for America"

Here are some links for you to explore:

Aesthetic Realism Foundation website
Terrain Gallery

Aesthetic Realism Online Library - Resources

Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company


•  Len Bernstein • Photographic Education: An approach to art and life
based on the philosophy Aesthetic Realism founded by Eli Siegel

•  Dienes & Dienes; The work of Amy Dienes & Lou Dienes

  Doug Cox Legacy of Ice Images [legacyoficeimages.com]

•  John Reddy: Photography Based in Helena, Montana

•  Wayne Mumford
Montana Photography Links, Lewis and Clark Trail Links, Montana Weather and Streams

Film  Imagery Film Ltd.
See Ken Kimmelman's Award Winning film: Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana
based on the 1925 Nation prize-winning poem read by
its author, Eli Siegel, founder, Aesthetic Realism

Agora Gallery

 Copyright 1999-2010 by David M. Bernstein