HCB Quote of the Week #53 
Saturday, October 4, 2008, 16:24 - Commentary
While I love spring, fall in New York isn’t too bad either. The crisp air, the changing leaves and the changing light all give one a special feeling I haven’t found anywhere else. So while I enjoy a fall afternoon enjoy your HCB Quote of the Week.


Autumn in New York…. © Damaso Reyes

Actually, I'm not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I'm not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren't cooks. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Photo of the Day #58 
Friday, October 3, 2008, 15:18 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
What fascinates me about xenophobes and those who would end all immigration in Europe is how fervently they believe that immigrants will destroy their culture (never mind that no culture can be considered “pure” and is the amalgamation of centuries of interaction) and replace it with their own.

Then we read an article like this one in Der Spiegel which talks about how it really works.

"Once a year, the "Gambero Rosso" (or "Red Crab") -- a kind of Michelin Guide dedicated to the spirit of slow food -- presents its coveted awards to restaurants, vineyards and estates that preserve the traditions of la cucina italiana. And this year the award for the best spaghetti alla carbonara went to Hassen, a Tunisian immigrant. This has made him the guardian of the most Italian of all Italian dishes."


I can be a chef too! Cologne 2007 © Damaso Reyes


When given the opportunity immigrants often do a very good job at assimilating on their own without any pressure from society. It is my observation that it is when immigrants are excluded from opportunity and discriminated against that they tend to huddle together for mutual protection. This article highlights a great example of how immigrants can actually help preserve the cultures they become a part of.

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Photo of the Day #57 
Thursday, October 2, 2008, 15:03 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Continuing on our immigration theme from yesterday comes an interesting article from Der Spiegel online about a hunger strike being led by a group of asylum seekers and immigrants in Belgium.

“Debkota and seven other people on hunger strikes are being cared for at the Latin America House in Brussels. They come from Nepal, the Ivory Coast, Congo, Guinea, Brazil and Iran. The hunger strikes are being conducted by illegal immigrants or asylum seekers whose applications for residency permits to stay in Belgium are pending or have been rejected. In recent years, hunger strikes and other protests have become a common way for illegal immigrants to try to stay in the country,”
Petra de Koning writes.


A future hunger striker? Vienna 2008 © Damaso Reyes


It’s interesting that such extreme actions must be taken by those seeking a better life. In contrast a recent article in the New York Times talks about how underserved communities in New York are actively seeking foreign doctors and sponsoring their visas. Given the demographic issues facing Europe you would think that more countries would start long needed reforms but as we saw yesterday in Austria the far right can still use immigration and the fear of it as a vote generating machine.

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Photo of the Day #56 
Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 12:48 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
For all of those who missed them while you were gone today marks the return of the Photo of the Day. As you might recall the goal of this daily posting is to both introduce, or reintroduce, you to my images as well as keep you up to date on the latest news from Europe. I hope that my work is not just about documenting history but capturing moments that are relevant to our lives today.


A protest vote. Vienna 2008 © Damaso Reyes


It was no surprise that Austria’s far right Freedom party gained in the recent election this weekend but commentators were shocked at the nearly one third of votes they managed to pull. To say that the party is xenophobic would be charitable. As we read in this article in The Guardian they have long used anti-immigrant sentiment to pull votes, especially in the country’s rural districts.

Austria, like many other European nations, is going to have to come to terms with their need for immigrant labor and how this will change their culture and society. Just because an ostrich sticks its head in the sand doesn’t mean that nothing is happing above ground…

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Reflections on France 
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 12:52 - Travel, Commentary
Brooklyn

It feels good to be home again. I spent a good part of yesterday walking around, meeting friends and running errands and it was just another reminder of the powerful link I have to this great city. It will always be my home, of that there can be no question.


Leaving… © Damaso Reyes


But I also had an opportunity to reflect I bit on the past month. While I don’t feel like I captured any great narrative stories I do feel like I got many individual images that will serve as a window to that place and time that I inhabited. The more time I spend in France the more and more I like it. The French have a relaxed but passionate sensibility that I can very much relate to. I look forward to exploring the country more in the coming years.

But for now I am back but don’t think that I am not planning my return!

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HCB Quote of the Week #52 
Saturday, September 27, 2008, 14:15 - Travel, Commentary
Paris

I am here in Paris getting ready to head out on a flight towards New York. It has been a great month here and I hope you have enjoyed the images. See you on the other side!


Cheers! © Damaso Reyes

In photography, visual organization can stem only from a developed instinct.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

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The Savage Coast 
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 12:07 - Travel, Shooting
Rochefort-en-Terre


Yesterday I traveled to the Cote Sauvage or Savage Coast here in Brittany. The place lived up to its name with dramatic vistas of wave battered coastline. It really was amazing to stand at the very end of France and look over the distant horizon towards America, where I will be heading back on Saturday. It was a great trip to end my travels here in France and here are a few images!


You are here! © Damaso Reyes



Crash, bang! © Damaso Reyes



The Channel. © Damaso Reyes



Rocks and waves. © Damaso Reyes



Turbulence. © Damaso Reyes



Thinking. © Damaso Reyes



The castle in the distance. © Damaso Reyes



The lonely fisherman. © Damaso Reyes


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Fest-Noz in Elven 
Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 11:40 - Travel, Shooting
Rochefort-en-Terre


On Saturday there was a traditional Fest-Noz in Elven, just a few kilometers away. An evening of music and dance the Fest-Noz provides an opportunity to both preserve and celebrate local culture. If you just wandered in one might have thought that one was in Scotland or Ireland what with the sounds of the pipes and drums ringing in the night air. But we were safely in Brittany enjoying another great evening.


And the band played on. © Damaso Reyes


We were dancing through the night. © Damaso Reyes


Playing in the shadows… © Damaso Reyes


Just you and I… © Damaso Reyes


Free Brittany! © Damaso Reyes


The pipes, the pipes are calling… © Damaso Reyes

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Out and About 
Tuesday, September 23, 2008, 11:35 - Travel, Shooting
Rochefort-en-Terre

It was a busy weekend. Once again the sun was shining and on Sunday several of us took the opportunity of visit an arts festival at Gorvello. There was some traditional dancing and music and well as lots of food and drink. I was pretty wiped out from the night before but I managed to get a few good pictures…



Let’s start from the beginning… © Damaso Reyes


Jesus says hello. © Damaso Reyes


Generations of tradition. © Damaso Reyes


Random moth. © Damaso Reyes


Shoes. © Damaso Reyes


The passion of the flower. © Damaso Reyes

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Small Town Circus 
Monday, September 22, 2008, 11:25 - Travel, Shooting
Rochefort-en-Terre


One of the things I like most about spending time in small towns are the festivals and circuses one can find. Last week there was a small family circus in Pluherlin, a village within walking distance. So I packed my camera bag and went for a stroll down the road. It was a small tent but I got to spend a little time with the Bertrand family before the show. Here are a few images…


Big show, this way! © Damaso Reyes


Laetita, Christhophe, Leslie, Dannob and BoBoye. © Damaso Reyes


Send in the clowns. © Damaso Reyes


My kingdom for a llama. © Damaso Reyes


Brother and sister. © Damaso Reyes


Time for a show. © Damaso Reyes

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HCB Quote of the Week #51 
Saturday, September 20, 2008, 14:52 - Commentary
Rochefort-en-Terre


The sun is shining here in western France and I am out shooting! As always, here is your HCB Quote of the Week!


The Gulf of Morhiban. © Damaso Reyes


"They . . . asked me:
"'How do you make your pictures?' I was puzzled . . .
"I said, 'I don't know, it's not important.'" Henri Cartier-Bresson
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Dinner with Madame Klots 
Thursday, September 18, 2008, 14:24 - Personal
Rochefort-en-Terre


All is well here in Western France and as my time here dwindles I am shooting more and more. But that does not mean that I do not have time to, as we say, have a good time. Last week Madam Isabel Klots invited several of the American artists in town for dinner and we had a great time. Mrs. Klots is the wife and daughter-in-law of Trafford and Alfred Klots, the American painters who brought the chateau here in Rochefort. Nineteen years ago Mrs. Klots, in cooperation with MICA, started the residency program here to honor the memory of her husband and father-in-law. She missed all the artists who used to stay here in Rochefort when her husband was alive and because of her generosity for nearly twenty years artists have had the opportunity to come here.


The Madame receives us. © Damaso Reyes


And what a reception it was! © Damaso Reyes


We had all we desired. © Damaso Reyes


And I mean everything! © Damaso Reyes


It was hard to keep up… © Damaso Reyes



But we tried our best! © Damaso Reyes



Dinner was excellent! © Damaso Reyes


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The Song of Brittany 
Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 08:29 - Shooting
Rochefort-en-Terre

On Sunday I had an opportunity to hear some traditional Breton singing at Café Gorvello, just a few towns over. Imagine American idol on a much smaller scale. The event was a local competition for a regional signing festival to be held later next month. Dozens of local residents came out on a lovely Sunday afternoon to sing traditional folk songs.


Keeper of the Flame. © Damaso Reyes


This kind of music is called Kan ha diskan or call and response. The singer will start with several verses and the audience will respond with what we might call the bridge. It was a really interesting experience, especially since almost all of the participants were over 50. As much as there has been a revival of Breton culture over the past thirty years, clearly many parts of this unique heritage are in peril as fewer and fewer young people choose to take on the traditions of their ancestors. Here are a few images!


Song of the shadows. © Damaso Reyes


Documentation. © Damaso Reyes



Noble song. © Damaso Reyes



Local color. © Damaso Reyes




The face of history. © Damaso Reyes

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A trip to Gavrinis 
Friday, September 12, 2008, 10:23 - Travel, Shooting
Rochefort-en-Terre

Earlier this week several of the artists here took a trip to the nearby island of Gavrinis which contains a megathic tomb which dates back to 3,500 B.C.E. Just a short ferry ride through the Gulf of Morbihan, Gavrinis is an interesting example of Europe’s wonderfully preserved history. Thousands of years ago humans were building complex societies complete with the kind of memorials that we are familiar with. Here are a few images!


Can you smell the salt air? © Damaso Reyes



You are here! © Damaso Reyes



Monument. © Damaso Reyes



Entrance. © Damaso Reyes

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Photo of the Day #55 (Memory) 
Thursday, September 11, 2008, 08:09 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Rochefort-en-Terre


Anniversaries are interesting things. The further we get from the date the harder it is to remember why we are trying to remember. This date means many different things to many people. Some see it as an excuse for war; others remember a pain that tore their lives apart on a clear September morning. For far too many it stands as a gate; a date which can only be seen through the lens of before and after. It is getting harder to remember before and more difficult to understand after.

As always the children shall lead the way…


World Trade Center Memorial Groundbreaking. September 11, 2004. © Damaso Reyes

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