Photo of the Day #10 (EuroCup Edition) 
Wednesday, June 25, 2008, 11:49 - Commentary, Photo of the Day

In many ways sports, just like art, reflects a society’s values and mores. Who we cheer for makes us think about why we root for whom we do. In America, the integration of baseball preceded the integration of the schools. Sport is another way we fight our social battles.

Security guard, Stuttgart 20006. © Damaso Reyes

Tonight there is a big game with Germany facing off against Turkey. The symbolism, as we learn in a great article in Der Spiegel, couldn’t be greater. It will certainly be interesting to see who wins tonight and how the fans react. As you can see in this New York Times chart below, Europe has a great deal of distance to cover in the evolution of its thought about immigration.

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Photo of the Day #9 
Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 12:29 - Commentary, Photo of the Day

This weekend I came across an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine. The topic of immigration in Europe is not just hot across the pond but Americans are also increasingly taking interest in this subject as well. While we Americans have a long tradition of external immigration, we have not always dealt with the issue well. Increasingly it seems like Europe is creating continental standards on many issues, unfortunately it seems like they’re taking a step backwards when it comes to immigration. Now more than ever Western Europe needs immigrants, especially when you factor in the declining birth rates in countries like France, Spain and Germany. But most Western European countries have yet to have an honest discourse about the benefits and difficulties of immigration.

Graffiti in Barcelona, 2005. © Damaso Reyes

I hope in some small way my work can have been given the process of this dialogue. I know to want to hope for but I think that image is can serve an important role in raising people’s awareness and consciousness about important issues like this.

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Photo of the Day #8 
Monday, June 23, 2008, 14:04 - Photo of the Day

Well I hope everyone had a great and relaxing weekend! I had a chance to catch up with some old friends as well as see some great art. One of the great things about being in New York is you never know who you will run into or what you’ll see. But the weekend is over and now it’s time to get back to work. I am moving full steam ahead on my nonprofit corporation and I’d like to hear your feedback on my mission statement, check it out underneath the Picture of the Day.

Flying in Berlin, 2006. © Damaso Reyes

The Europeans seeks to visually document the changes which are occurring as the European Union expands and integrates. Using photographs, exhibitions, articles, discussion panels and an interactive website The Europeans will engage a global audience in an ongoing dialogue about how these historic changes are impacting the lives of ordinary people. Using these tools to create greater understanding among both those in and outside of Europe is at the heart of our mission.

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HCB Quote of the Week #41 
Saturday, June 21, 2008, 12:32 - Events, Commentary

Today is one of my favorite days! It’s the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Every winter on those short, cold days I think about this day in particular and hope that it will come soon. In a few days I will have been back in New York for three months, exactly the amount of time than I had been away in Europe earlier this year. So in a sense I've also reached a kind of equilibrium, perhaps one that I hadn’t intended upon reaching this year. The past three months have been very enjoyable, and even highly productive in their own way, but when I left Germany at the end of March I didn’t expect to be back in New York for this long. But life can be one thing you don’t expect after another sometimes so I’ve tried to make the most of the hand that I’ve been dealt.

But enough about those things; today is a happy day! Now, enjoy your HCB Quote of the Week!

Summer in Amsterdam, 2005. © Damaso Reyes

Inside movement there is one moment in which the elements are in balance. Photography must seize the importance of this moment and hold immobile the equilibrium of it. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Photo of the Day #7 (PJG Edition) 
Thursday, June 19, 2008, 16:03 - Commentary, Photo of the Day

Last night I went to an amazing and moving tribute to the late Philips Jones Griffiths, perhaps the greatest anti-war photographer of his generation. His images, and they are too many to even try to pick a favorite, changed the way we look at war. His seminal book Vietnam, Inc. showed war and the totally of its terrible impact on all sides. So many people, from legendary photographers to ordinary people who were moved by his images came out. It was amazing to hear the stories his friends told and to see the moving film his family put together as he was dying.

We should all be so loved.

His work continues to inspire us all to speak truth to power.

Freedom from Fear. Berlin, 2007. © Damaso Reyes

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Photo of the Day #6 
Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 12:05 - Photo of the Day

Looking through my images of Germany I sure do have a lot of graphically inspired images. I don’t know if it has something to do with the country’s Bauhaus tradition or my own roving eye but I wanted to keep going with yesterday’s theme and post another interesting image, this time in color (I know, it’s shocking).

Dancing in Stuttgart, 2007. © Damaso Reyes

I still haven’t shaved yet but I do have a razor so watch out!

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Photo of the Day #5 
Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 12:02 - Personal, Photo of the Day

So when I was younger, much younger, I wanted to be an illustrator. More specifically I just wanted to be able to draw accurately. Sadly this was a skill that I never developed but fortunately I discovered photography which we all know is drawing with light. While I left behind my ambitions to draw, I am still interested in graphic representations of the world around me. Because I am a photojournalist I don’t have as many opportunities to indulge this proclivity as I would like but every once in a while I can.

Sign of the times. Berlin, 2007 © Damaso Reyes

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Photo of the Day #4 Kosovo Edition 
Monday, June 16, 2008, 13:51 - Commentary, Photo of the Day

I came across an interesting article in the IHT this weekend about Kosovo. As you know the former province of Serbia (Serbia along with many other nations most notably Russia has not recognized it) declared independence some months ago after years of being administered by the United Nations. On Sunday its constitution went into effect moving the process of independence further along. The constitution calls for the European Union to take a leading role but not all of its members have recognized Kosovo. How the E.U. deals with Kosovo over the coming years will be a test of how mature an institution it is. Clearly there is a need for a common foreign policy but the member states are still clinging dearly to the idea of charting their own courses, sometimes with disastrous effects. Will Kosovo become one of the E.U.’s casualties?

What is the future of Kosovo? Pristina, 2005.© Damaso Reyes

In other news the results of my internet poll are in! And it’s a tie! Five votes for, five against and two people just don’t care. You have to love democracy in action! So where does this leave us? I have no idea but I think it is pretty funny…
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HCB Quote of the Week #40 
Saturday, June 14, 2008, 13:21 - Commentary

Well Ireland said NO!!!! to the E.U. Constitution in a referendum this week. What’s interesting is that upper income urban voters supported the referendum and most others did not, a result that was mirrored in The Netherlands’ and France’s no votes in 2005.

What this tells me is that people who are for a more closely integrated Europe need to step up the discussion and the discourse. The people who are more active in talking about the future of Europe are the Euroskeptics. They own the debate right now and will continue to do so until those who see the benefits of a united Europe make their voices heard. Until then, here is you HCB Quote of the Week!

A very young voter. Amsterdam 2005 © Damaso Reyes

Of course it's all luck. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Photo of the Day #3 
Friday, June 13, 2008, 08:59 - Commentary, Photo of the Day

Who knew posting a picture a day could be so much fun, or so topical? I took this image in Paris last fall back when you could smoke indoors. Well no more! France, like Ireland, Germany, Italy and numerous other nations have mostly banned smoking in cafes, bars and restaurants. I remember coming back to NYC from Indonesia in 2003 and being amazed that there was no longer a cloud of smoke in every bar I went into. Some people may not like it but the health benefits for smokers and non smokers alike are clear. Now Amsterdam is getting into the act according to this article. You can have a joint as long as it is tobacco free. Amazing, isn’t it?

Puff, Puff… © Damaso Reyes

In other news you have just two more days to vote in my online poll. Should Damaso shave? That is the question. So far eight people have voted and the Yes voters hold a slim, one vote margin. So make sure you voice gets heard. Results will be announced on Monday…

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Photo of the Day #2 (Free Speech vs. Hate Speech) 
Thursday, June 12, 2008, 17:04 - Commentary, Photo of the Day

It’s good when I can use a photograph to talk about a larger issue, something I hope to do more of with this blog and the future website. There was an interesting article in the International Herald Tribune about free speech vs. hate speech and the different approaches that America and most of the rest of the developed world has.

“Canada, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Last week, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined €15,000, or $23,000, in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.”

By contrast, U.S. courts would not stop the American Nazi Party from marching in Skokie, Illinois, in 1977, though the march was deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there,”
Adam Liptak writes.

The Wall. Vienna, Austria 2008 © Damaso Reyes

This is an issue I thought a lot about when I lived in Germany last year. I have to say that I am much more in favor of the American point of view here. Of course I don’t think that we should promote or endorse hate speech. I believe that once we begin to outlaw speech then the slope becomes very slippery very quickly. It’s an old argument but once you ban some speech that is very hateful what is to stop you from banning other speech which is somewhat offensive? More importantly who gets to decide?

In Germany the way they often deal with parties and groups that are offensive is to ban them. Of course this does not mean that these ideas go away as we have seen in the racist and anti-immigrant violence that still happens there, especially in the east. These ideas and their supporters are pushed underground rather than debated and refuted in the light of day. That is what by and large happens here in America. There are people who espouse neo-Nazi points of view but whenever they plan and march usually ten times as many people turn out to oppose them. They are shown as the racist and marginal figures that they are and society is strengthened without ever having to ban a book or idea.

To me this is a much more healthy and modern way of dealing with this issue. If we believe in the “marketplace of ideas” then we have to accept that there are some bad ideas out there and as progressive people we have to work as hard as we can to oppose them. But as we have seen simply outlawing an idea doesn’t make it go away.

What do you think?

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Photo of the Day #1 
Wednesday, June 11, 2008, 14:25 - Project News, Photo of the Day

If you don't already know I have started a Facebook group for The Europeans. So even if you don't want to be my friend (I know it is hard to even imagine) you can still join the group and engage in the conversation!

One more monument. Berlin, 2007 © Damaso Reyes

So I have decided to add another category to the blog: Photo of the Day. It struck me a few days ago as I was going through some images while looking for one in particular that I have a whole lot of photos. So why not share them? It is part of my goal of posting on a near daily basis and it give you the chance to post your thoughts and comments!

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Govenor's Island and Poll Results so far... 
Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 11:17 - Commentary

It was a hot but relaxing weekend. As you who are in NYC right now know it is hot, hot and more hot up in here but hey, it’s New York in June. If you thought spring would last forever well guess again.

The view from the ferry. © Damaso Reyes

But the island was nice, if you’ve never been and happen to be around, I highly recommend it as a great place to have a picnic and cool off a bit. Thanks to Katie and Alix for joining us. In other news so far 100% (three votes) have been cast for me to keep my beard in the internet poll I am conducting. You have five more days or so to vote so don’t delay. I am actually surprised at the direction of the turnout so far. Just like in November this year, make sure your voice is heard and go and vote!

The view from the island. © Damaso Reyes
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Internet Poll 
Sunday, June 8, 2008, 17:08 - Personal

So the question is: Beard or no beard?

I am thinking about shaving but when I do I look like a teenage girl. Seriously, people call me miss and ma’am. But as you can see, I don’t really grow a ZZ Top type beard. What other people grow in a day takes me a month. So summer is here and I am thinking about shaving but what do you think?

More than two months of growth, kinda sad huh? © Damaso Reyes

Click on this link and vote, I will post the results next week…

So smooth…. © Damaso Reyes

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HCB Quote of the Week #39 
Saturday, June 7, 2008, 13:06 - Commentary

Well summer has officially arrived here in New York. Officially in the sense that it will be uncomfortably hot over the next three days and everyone will try to wear as little as possible. So it’s the perfect day to work on my tan, think about the future and have a picnic on Governor’s Island in New York harbor. While I am doing that, enjoy your HCB Quote of the Week…

Thinking in Jakarta.© Damaso Reyes

Our eye must constantly measure, evaluate. We alter our perspective by a slight bending of the knees; we convey the chance meeting of lines by a simple shifting of our heads a thousandth of an inch…. We compose almost at the same time we press the shutter, and in placing the camera closer or farther from the subject, we shape the details – taming or being tamed by them. - Henri Cartier-Bresson on composition. "American Photo", September/October 1997, page: 76

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