HCB Quote of the Week #38 
Saturday, May 31, 2008, 14:46 - Commentary

Time sure is going by quickly! Itís hard to believe that I have already been back in New York for two months but I most certainly have. I have always felt like the danger of being here is that I start to become too comfortable. Being in the city that I love with the people I love doesnít motivate me to leave. At the same time the longer that I am here the more I miss being out in the field and working on The Europeans. Itís two sides of the same coin, a push and pull that I have experienced ever since I first came back from Indonesia in 2003.

Well I have been trying to use my time in New York wisely and I will tell you all about it next week. Until then, here is your HCB Quote of the Week!

A tombstone in Vienna's Jewish cemetery.

There is no closed figure in nature. Every shape participates with another. No one thing is independent of another and one thing rhymes with another, and light gives them shape. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Bridging the Gap 
Tuesday, May 27, 2008, 15:33 - Personal, Commentary

The Brooklyn Bridge just turned 125!

And you donít look a day over 100Ö

This was a beautiful and warm Memorial Day weekend here in New York. I was a bit under the weather for some of it but by Sunday I was smiling and sitting in the sun like thousands of other New Yorkers.

The view from below. © Damaso Reyes

The anniversary of the opening of the bridge serves as a reminder of what we can accomplish when we work together for something greater than ourselves. It is a testament that the space between us can be bridged both literally and metaphorically and that is what we should strive for as a society.

Shadows. © Damaso Reyes

For me that is what The Europeans is: a bridge. Images can serve that function in our society and I hope that this project can serve as a bridge both among Europeans as well as a link between the present and the future. Time, as it always does, will tellÖ

We canít leave out the Manhattan Bridge! © Damaso Reyes

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Cornell Capa R.I.P. 
Saturday, May 24, 2008, 11:08 - Events, Commentary

Cornell Capa is dead.

He did more than perhaps anyone else to promote the cause of photojournalism in the second half of the last century. He was a great photographer and a visionary who founded the International Center of Photography. He will be sorely missed and in his honor we will turn the HCB Quote of the Week into the Cornell Capa Quote of the Week.

The Wall, Vienna. © Damaso Reyes

Images at their passionate and truthful best are as powerful as words can ever be. If they alone cannot bring change, they can at least provide and understanding mirror of manís actions, thereby sharpening human awareness and awakening conscience. - Cornell Capa, Collection, Use, and Care of Historical Photographs by Robert A. Weinstein

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Fine, So I Caved... 
Wednesday, May 21, 2008, 13:47 - Project News, Commentary

I am not what they would call a ďfirst adopter.Ē For me the worth of technology must be proved, it is not tacitly accepted. I remember when mobile phone first became affordable enough that everyone was getting them. I held out. I didnít see the value. After all, I had a pager so people could get in touch with me, or at least let me know that they wanted to get in touch with me, and I was fine with that. After a while I began to see the value of having a mobile communications device and I relented.

Last week I finally set up a Facebook page.

Now many of you probably already have one but for a long time I didnít see the point, after all, if people want to know what I am doing they could read my blog I argued. Well after reading an insightful piece in the Atlantic about the Obama campaignís use of the internet to bring people together I decided there was value in this idea. I realized much like the value of having a mobile phone it is not just about being accessible; it is about lowering the bar of accessibility and making it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you and to know what you are doing.

So I signed up and found a lot of people from high school and college and my work life that I have been out of touch with. I can also share with those very same people what I have been up to. So itís all good as the young people sayÖ

Three Women in Vienna. © Damaso Reyes

I almost forgot to tell you that I have added images to my gallery on asylum seekers in Austria as well as a gallery on the Ute Bock Center. This work took up the second half of my Fulbright Fellowship and I think there are some really great images there, please let me know what you think!

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HCB Quote of the Week #37 
Saturday, May 17, 2008, 15:29 - Project News, Commentary

Iím done!

Berlin by night. © Damaso Reyes

And it feels good!

Dancing in Vienna. © Damaso Reyes

So I have finished updating my website. If you go online you can see brand new galleries including images from Viennaís traditional balls, Berlin at night, the Ute Bock Center for asylum seekers as well as from the German Cancer Research Center and one of Viennaís oldest Jewish cemeteries.

Remembering the past © Damaso Reyes

You can also see updated galleries with additional images from Vienna and Berlin. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, until then here is your HCB Quote of the Week!

I went to Marseille. A small allowance enabled me to get along, and I worked with enjoyment. I had just discovered the Leica. It became the extension of my eye, and I have never been separated from it since I found it. I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, determined to "trap" life - to preserve life in the act of living. Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Searching & Finding 
Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 14:31 - Personal, Project News

Sometimes you just have to listen to the photographs.

The writing is on the wall. © Damaso Reyes

All photographs speak, the question is how well do you listen? Since I have been back in New York I have started doing yoga twice a week. I had wanted to do yoga for a couple of years now but I had always found an excuse. Now that I am cooling my heels in NYC for a while, I figured it was a good time to start.

More than anything I just want to increase my strength and flexibility. Sitting in front of the computer for hours and hours and then walking around with a heavy camera is not so good for you body, especially when you arenít 18 years old anymore. Of course yoga also gives me time to clear my mind, which can be pretty hard at times. If you havenít tried it I highly recommend it!

Meanwhile I finally finished editing about an hour ago! So over the next few days you will be seeing some new galleries as well as new photographs in existing galleries. You can already visit a gallery from my trip to the DKFZ here. I feel really good about this latest round of images, I hope you do tooÖ

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HCB Quote of the Week #36 
Saturday, May 10, 2008, 19:13 - Project News, Commentary

So the scanning is done! Hold your applause because there is still editing to do but that will fly by but for no other reason than there arenít that many images to go through. So this time next week there should be some new galleries for you to check out. In the meantime here is an image from Vienna to tide you over.

Freedom of Speech. © Damaso Reyes

So right now I am in limbo. When I was in Vienna I met someone who said that they were interested in doing some fundraising for The Europeans. Promises were made, hopes were raised and of course, much to my dismay, things didnít work out. Perhaps it is because of my childhood on the mean streets of Brooklyn but I am not the most trusting of people. I did however make an exception in this case and my worst instincts were perversely proven correct.

Now I didnít lose anything except some time and a little faith in my fellow human beings. But the past few weeks did reinforce something I already knew: I need money.

Now this seems obvious. But it has become increasingly clear that in order to do my project properly I need the kind of financial freedom that does not come from small grants or fellowship. I need enough money to be able to plan months in advance without having to worry if I can afford to go to point A or rent a hotel in point B.

So over the next few weeks I will be asking various people in the world of high finance and with experience in fundraising for their advice. I clearly need to take things to the next level in terms of raising money so I can buy the equipment I need as well as set up a base of operations and have just a little piece of mind. Feel free to contribute some concrete suggestions or ideas!

Until the money starts pouring in here is your HCB Quote of the Week!

Thereís a particular kind of painting that is no longer practiced, that of portraiture, and there are those who say that the discovery of photography is the cause. It does seem apt to credit photography with the abandonment by painters of this painterly form. A subject wearing a military coat, a cap, and sitting on a horse can discourage even the most well-schooled painter, who feels overwhelmed by all the details of the costume. We, as photographers, are not bothered by all these details. Rather, we enjoy ourselves, because we can easily capture life in all its reality through our camera. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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HCB Quote of the Week #35 
Saturday, May 3, 2008, 13:44 - Commentary

I have been pretty quiet, at least on the blog, the past few weeks. Thereís been a lot, or not, depending on how you look at it, going on and I will fill you in on all of it in the coming days. You will be happy to know that I have started editing and scanning the last rolls I shot earlier this year both in Austria and Germany so you will have some additional images to look forward to.

Iíve received a lot of rejections in the past few weeks. The Guggenheim Foundation, NYFA and various other grants, festivals and awards have all told me NO, no thank you, not really interested. Of course rejection is part of the game but it doesnít get easier, especially when you feel like your work is getting better and especially when they seem to come all at once, as they all too often do.

So I am trying to keeping my head up but itís a bit hard these days. Hopefully Mr. Sun will come out from hiding next week and say hello. Until then, here is your HCB Quote of the Week!

A smoke break in Wien. © Damaso Reyes

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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HCB Quote of the Week #34 
Saturday, April 26, 2008, 15:32 - Commentary

Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Dawn at Borobudur. © Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of the Week #33 
Saturday, April 19, 2008, 21:32 - Commentary

Photography is nothing--it's life that interests me. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Life on Zanzibar. © Damaso Reyes
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Three Years Later 
Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 17:13 - Project News, Events, Commentary

So it was three years ago today that I boarded a plane form John F. Kennedy international airport here in New York and started on the long road that has become The Europeans. Three years later it is hard to believe all the people I have met and the places I have been.

What began as a dream is now reality.

As I have mentioned to some of you in private, when I began this project, when I conceived of it and when I boarded that plane I had absolutely no idea of what the images that I would take would look like. All I had was a few hundred dollars, a one way ticket, and an idea that somehow I could photograph the ways in which Europe was changing. Honestly I wasnít even sure that my skills would be up to that task. After all, as a photojournalist my job up until then was to impart information, not make the abstract real. I wasnít a philosopher or a historian, just a man with a camera and an idea.

The past few years have been filled with adversity. Mostly it has been a struggle with myself to live up to my own ideals and the possibilities that only hope can provide. I feel like I have taken a few good images here and there. I have certainly managed to travel, though not as much as I would have liked.

Iíve seen a new nation beginning to form in Kosovo.

© Damaso Reyes

I photographed the powerful in The Netherlands.

© Damaso Reyes

I spent most of last year in Germany.

© Damaso Reyes

I found my future home in Spain.

© Damaso Reyes

I documented passion in the United Kingdom.

© Damaso Reyes

I found beauty in France and science in Switzerland.

© Damaso Reyes

I saw how the other half lives in Austria.

© Damaso Reyes

Iíve made good friends and had good times. As I prepare to return in the coming weeks it is with the knowledge that I am on the right road, though I still donít know where it will lead or exactly when it will end. Right now I feel like I am just starting to hit my strideÖ

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HCB Quote of the Week #32 
Saturday, April 12, 2008, 16:19 - Commentary


Sometimes it seems like thatís all we ever do.

Waiting for a call. Waiting for a check. Waiting for approval.

Iíve been doing a lot of waiting this week.

But that is what photography is all about. Waiting for the right moment. I guess I have learned that waiting can also be valuable. It gives you a chance to observe your surroundings, to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it, two things we donít do enough of in life.

So I wait. But you donít have to wait any longer for your HCB Quote of the Week!

Midtown Buddha. © Damaso Reyes

I find that you have to blend in like a fish in water, you have to forget yourself, you have to take your time, that's what I reproach our era for not doing. Drawing is slow, it is a meditation, but you have to know how to go slow in order to go quickly , slowness can mean splendor. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Contest or Scam? 
Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 19:34 - Commentary

Something has been bugging me for a long time: photography contest entry fees. As an ďemergingĒ photographer entering contests is an important part, along with applying for grants and fellowships, of getting recognition for your personal work. Often winning a major award puts you on the map (I wouldnít know about that) and helps get you more paying work.

Some companies and organizations seem to want to take advantage of this fact. PDN is a major culprit with their Wedding Photography Contest, their Self Promo contest and many others. Recently I got very excited about the first New York Photography Festival and their awards, until I read the submissions guidelines and the $30 per photo and $90 for a series entry fees. I was similarly excited about the Berenice Abbott Prize for an Emerging Photographer until I saw the $100!!!!! entry fee. Where does an emerging photographer come up with $100 for a prize that offers a camera and a show if you win?

Where the money is... © Damaso Reyes

Now looks at Visa pour líimage or World Press, both of which donít charge fees and the latter which offers a 10,000 euro prize for the top photo and 1,000 Euros for each of the category winners. It seems to me that the contests that charge fees are scams for suckers. Real contests find sponsors to cover their costs instead of taking money from underfunded photogs. In fact I think that a lot of these contest fees are more about making money than covering costs. If PDN would like to prove me wrong then letís open up the books, shall we? I didnít think so. What I do think is that photographers have to stop entering these contests and paying these fees.

Thatís my rant for the week.

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HCB Quote of the Week #31 
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 14:20 - Commentary

Well the sun is shining here in New York City and I am pretty relaxed. Canít say I have been doing too much in the way of work but that will change next week. I have quite a bit to catch up on as well as some more photos to scan and edit. So while I enjoy my weekend here is your HCB Quote of the Week!

Central Park in December.© Damaso Reyes

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

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So Called Friends 
Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 18:04 - Commentary

One of the things that I have had to come to terms with over the past few years is the fact that I have outgrown many of my old friends. Over time people I used to be close with have just become less interesting. Character traits I used to dismiss as quirks I now see as highly irritating flaws.

My biggest pet peeve is the way that certain ďfriendsĒ canít find the time to see me or hang out when I am back in town. Now of course we are all adults and get busy, even have families so I understand when there are scheduling conflicts. But part of being a friend is making time for each other and staying in touch in general and there are more than I handful of people whom I have decided to stop being friends with because their actions show that they are not interested in prioritizing or valuing my friendship. Since I have never had very many friends this has been a hard choice but I have decided that I want to have relationships where people value me as much as I value them and show it.

The trip home. © Damaso Reyes

I havenít shot anything since Iíve been back in town. Actually I still have a bit of material to go through but I am starting to get the itch. I am also having quite the dilemma about what digital rangefinder camera to get. I would like an M8 but donít want to spend the $5,500 it costs for a camera that at best will be a transition piece. Also all the reported problems with it give me pause. At the same time I donít want to carry around my SLR anymore either. What is a boy to do?

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