Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows - FoAGM

Photographs by Harvey Coté
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Into the Meadows

Hill Path

Meadow Rocks

Grass Waves

Gray Birch

Meadow Sky

Flamingos

Early Fall

Winter Branch
Milkweed

Winter Leaves

The Photographer

           

     Harvey “Bud” Coté (1925–2020) was a longtime resident of Arlington, Massachusetts. He was born in Arlington, grew up in Somerville, and then returned to Arlington with his wife Joan to raise their family.

     Bud was a graduate of the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts and a retired Art Director at WR Grace. Although Bud excelled at his job in the industry for which he studied, the medium that brought him the most joy was photography. He was a self-taught nature photographer who greatly admired the works of Ansel Adams. Bud’s tools were always the same: a 35mm Nikon camera, a tripod, a light meter, and his talent to see what others couldn’t see.

     Bud was able to see the world through a lens and recognize the beauty in the most ordinary of objects. He loved to tell the story of the day he went out to photograph a section of a street. Earlier he had seen something that caught his eye and he quickly went back home to get his camera. As he set up his camera for the best possible shot, a nearby construction worker looked on. Bud hadn’t pointed the camera down the street to take a photo, he pointed it down at the street. The construction worker walked over to see what interested Bud. The man was quickly disappointed when Bud pointed out, with much enthusiasm, the shapes of the flower petals that had landed on the wet pavement.

     That construction worker wasn’t able to “see” what Bud could see, but Bud’s talent as a photographer brought out the beauty for everyone to appreciate. Bud’s exhibit Nature’s Ordinary at a Moment in Time toured many galleries in the Greater Boston area, and one comment by an admirer always stuck with him. As she gazed upon his photograph of a snow-covered tree branch hanging over a pond, she said, “I’ve been to the Meadows hundreds of times and I’ve never seen this!”

     Wherever Bud traveled, he never was without his camera. From the shores of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to the Grand Tetons of Wyoming, he captured brilliant moments in nature. However, Bud’s true muse was Arlington’s Great Meadows. He discovered it in the early 1970s, and for decades thereafter it would be his second home. As he explored the wild meadows, sometimes with a young daughter beside him, he forged new paths among the woods and tall grass. The Meadows was his secret place and he loved it. At every one of his exhibits he always proudly displayed a map of Arlington’s Great Meadows. Oftentimes someone would think to correct him and tell him that the Great Meadows is in Concord and not Arlington. Bud would love to then boast about Arlington’s unknown gem, as if he were boasting about one of his five kids.

     Bud was a pioneer when it came to Arlington’s Great Meadows. He explored, he discovered, and he treasured those Meadows. He was truly in his element there.