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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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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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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Photo of the Day #54 
Wednesday, September 10, 2008, 14:03 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Rochefort-en-Terre

They say the world is going to end today.


Or not. Sometimes it is hard to know who or what to believe.


Turn on the juice! Geneva 2007.

Just kidding. While some members of the tinfoil hat society believe that our friends at CERN are going to kill us all by unleashing a microscopic black hole in Geneva, those of us in the know have no fear. Of course this is a great moment in science as well as for Europe. After all CERN is doing what we in the United States chose not to: build the world’s largest particle accelerator. With this amazing tool we will push back the limits of human knowledge and it came together through the cooperation and vision of dozens of nations around the world, most of them located in Europe. It’s a great day for science!

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Walking and Talking 
Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 10:58 - Travel, Commentary
Rochefort-en-Terre

One of the nicest ways to get to know a place is to walk. Perhaps it comes from having grown up in New York, that most walkable of cities, but I do enjoy spending time on the streets of whatever city or town I happen to be in. Rochefort-en-Terre is no exception and I have spent much of the past ten days, weather permitting, strolling around this idyllic medieval village. And since we are such good friends you get to see some of the fruits of my labor, enjoy!


Signs. © Damaso Reyes



Rocherfort-en-Terre. © Damaso Reyes



The Chateau. © Damaso Reyes



Local delicacies. © Damaso Reyes



Timeless. © Damaso Reyes



Going home. © Damaso Reyes

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HCB Quote of the Week #50 
Saturday, September 6, 2008, 13:13 - Commentary
Rochefort-en-Terre

Just cruising around France, don’t mind me! Please enjoy your HCB Quote of the Week!


Stairway to heaven. Rochefort-en-Terre, France 2008 © Damaso Reyes


Only a fraction of the camera's possibilities interests me - the marvelous mixture of emotion and geometry, together in a single instant. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Photo of the Day #53 
Friday, September 5, 2008, 12:53 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Rochefort-en-Terre

The rain is hiding the sun here in France and there are demographic clouds on the horizon for the European Union as well. Eurostat recently released a study which finds that the soon death rate in the E.U. will surpass the birth rate. In just seven years, as we read in this article, the long predicted population decline will begin in earnest.


The writing on the wall in Vienna’s old Jewish cemetery. Austria 2008

Now just how Europe deals with this issue is a subject of some debate. Clearly immigration is one solution but Europe; especially western Europe, is struggling with how to integrate those immigrants already in its boarders and reactionary right-wing politicians in nations from The Netherlands to Switzerland are calling for a halt to immigration all together.

Will Europeans answer the call of nature and get busy? Perhaps. If not the epitaph of Europe may already be written…

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Scenes of Rochefort-en-Terre 
Thursday, September 4, 2008, 11:37 - Travel, Shooting, Commentary
Rochefort-en-Terre



I have spent the past few days exploring the lovely town that I will be staying at for the next three weeks. Most, if not all of the homes are at least a few hundred years old, a perfect example of how Europe’s history is literally embodied in its towns and cities.


Lost in time. © Damaso Reyes

As much as I like photographing landscapes I do plan on photographing more of the people who make this town and region so special! In the meantime, please enjoy some images…


Flora and fauna. © Damaso Reyes


Green and black. © Damaso Reyes


Home of God and home of man. © Damaso Reyes


Renew, Reuse & Recycle! © Damaso Reyes


Red and white. © Damaso Reyes



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Photo of the Day #52 
Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 10:15 - Travel, Shooting, Commentary, Photo of the Day
Rochefort-en-Terre


Greetings from France! Sorry it has taken me so long to post, but it was a long flight and train ride to get here to Rochefort-en-Terre. Of course it was totally worth it. Brittany is amazing and I actually managed to get over to the coast and shoot a few images of the landscape and the oyster and mussel pickers. Whole families go out on the weekends to pick these bivalve delicacies!


The coast. © Damaso Reyes

Rochefort itself is a lovely small town straight out of the Middle Ages. I promise to grab some shots for you once the rain stops (it might take a while). In the meantime enjoy some images from the coast!


Picking oysters in Brittany. © Damaso Reyes


No sand, only shells. © Damaso Reyes


Low tide. © Damaso Reyes

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Photo of the Day #50 
Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 20:16 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Brooklyn


Just two days to go until I take off for France and of course I have too much to do. But of course the news never stops and if you have some time check out this interesting article about the E.U.’s response to the conflict between Russia and Georgia, I feel it nicely sums up the issues:

“The E.U. always has trouble speaking with a single voice,” said Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. “It will find consensus all the more difficult in this crisis. In Central Europe there’s a sense that we told you so, Russia is again an aggressor state. And in Western Europe there is a much more complicated view of the war in Georgia and an unwillingness to jump to the conclusion that it’s time to man the barricades and contain Russia.”


What to do, what to do? Kosovo 2005 © Damaso Reyes

The next few years will no doubt bring many similar foreign policy and military challenges. The question of course is just how the European Union’s member states will choose to deal with them…

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Photo of the Day #49 
Monday, August 25, 2008, 12:59 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Brooklyn


As much as people take photography, and the work that photojournalists do for granted, the impact that our images have on the way people remember and interpret history is profound. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the events in Georgia are a stark reminder of the ways in which history repeats itself.

There is a great article in The Guardian about the Czech photographer Josef Koudelka who documented the Soviet invasion and its aftermath providing the entire world with some of the few images of what happened. Risking his life he took more than 5,000 images in one week of the invasion of Prague and smuggled the images out.

“The previously unseen images, though, are powerful for different reasons. They provide a unique visual record of 20th century history as it unfolded, an event of incredible emotional and political intensity that lasted a week yet changed the course of a nation for two decades afterwards. In one brilliantly composed image after another, Koudelka has also captured the energy of mass protest like no one before or since, an energy that flared from angry disbelief into violent protest and then faded just as suddenly. 'When I look at these pictures now, I can't believe I did them. Magnum could not believe it was the work of one photographer. I was everywhere because everywhere I looked in those seven days there is another photograph waiting for me. I did not have time to even think about the danger.'”


Who will watch the watchmen? Kosovo 2005 © Damaso Reyes

While everyone may have a camera, or camera phone, not everyone can be a photojournalist…

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HCB Quote of the Week #49 
Saturday, August 23, 2008, 12:47 - Commentary
Brooklyn


It’s my last weekend in New York and as you can imagine I am super busy! Yesterday also would have been the 100th birthday of HCB. It is hard to understate the impact he has had on photography. I have felt his reach in my own work, especially as I travel throughout Europe. Happy birthday big guy!


Remembrance of things past. Berlin 2007 © Damaso Reyes


For a subject to be strong enough to be worth photographing, the relationship of its forms must be rigorously established. Composition starts when you situate your camera in space in relation to the object. For me, photography is the exploration in reality of the rhythm of surfaces, lines, or values; the eye carves out its subject, and the camera has only to do its work. That work is simply to print the eye’s decision on film. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Photo of the Day #48 
Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 13:02 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Brooklyn

If you haven’t checked The Guardian there is a great unconventional story about immigration. We’ve all heard about how Western Europe needs immigration to deal with its declining birthrate and all that jazz but of course one of the things people fear is the loss of culture and national identity. Well Steven Wells argues that immigration can help save and even infuse rock culture. Here’s a taste:



Where is everybody? Stuttgart 2007 © Damaso Reyes

“Meanwhile, the developing world is bursting at the seams with babies, toddlers and teenagers, many of whom would love to come to the West but can't because of bizarre racist immigration policies and the absurd and morally and intellectually indefensible (not to mention anti-democratic and anti-free enterprise) notion that workers shouldn't be allowed to live anywhere in the world they damn well please.

“The solution is obvious. The West needs immigration like the deserts need the rain. To stave off cultural brain death and save rock'n'roll we must throw open the floodgates of immigration. By doing so, the young will once again outnumber the nearly dead - totally revitalizing music and providing "us" with a new generation of both avant garde artists and audiences for avant garde art. Music in particular would experience the dizzying and exhilarating rush of input from dozens of other cultures, hopefully drowning out the dull, smug, self-referential, post-Smiths indie/hipster monoculture once and for all.”


That’s hot…

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Photo of the Day #47 
Tuesday, August 19, 2008, 13:31 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Brooklyn


Sometimes we need to look at the past to understand what is possible. When we think of documentary photojournalism sometimes we spend more time thinking about Flickr and iPhone cameras than of what is possible when well trained artists do their job well.


Let us now praise famous men. Berlin 2006 © Damaso Reyes


A great documentary, highlighted in this article, seeks to remind viewers of what an important role photography plays in our conception of ourselves. “Documenting the Face of America: Roy Stryker and the F.S.A./O.W.I. Photographers,” provides an important insight into how the American government of all institutions used photography to highlight the impact of the Great Depression on ordinary people.

Many of the images you will see in this film inspired my own career and belief that images can make a difference. Check it out!

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