Goodbye Vienna 
Thursday, February 28, 2008, 09:30 - Travel, Shooting, Commentary

It is my last day here in Wien and I am already missing it! Well I still have a few more hours but the weather has been spectacular during the past week and I have really been very productive, so much so that I still have to do some packing. But donít worry, I will get it all done in time. I really hope I have a chance to come back soon to continue the work I started here. Time, as always, will tell.

In the meantime here are some images of asylum seeker, teacher and university graduate Alisa and her three daughters. She came here almost ten years ago from Chechnya and has been trying to make a life for herself, against all odds, ever since.

ďI wish that just once I could feel like a human being.Ē

A strong woman.© Damaso Reyes

Still happy. © Damaso Reyes

A hidden truth. © Damaso Reyes

Edges. © Damaso Reyes

Living history. © Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of the Week #25 
Saturday, February 23, 2008, 13:29 - Commentary

My time here in Vienna is growing short. I have to say that I have really enjoyed myself since I arrived here on the first of January. I have shot well over forty rolls and am not done yet!

Smiling through the hard times. © Damaso Reyes

You know itís funny but so far this year I have gotten a number of rejections from various grants and fellowships that I have applied for. At the same time I feel like I have been doing some of my best work over the past two weeks while I have been photographing asylum seekers here in Vienna. Of course I wish I had more time here but I have made a good start and I hope I can find a way of returning at some point later in the year. While I still have a few days left here in Wien my focus is slowly starting to shift back towards Stuttgart where I will be for March. I hope to catch up on some of what I didnít get to shoot last year but at the same time I will use the time there as an opportunity to meditate a bit on what I have been doing as well as edit what I have shot so far. Without further ado, here are some portraits and your HCB Quote of the Week!

Hope. © Damaso Reyes

As time passes by and you look at portraits, the people come back to you like a silent echo. A photograph is a vestige of a face, a face in transit. Photography has something to do with death. It's a trace. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Self portrait. © Damaso Reyes

Mass media. © Damaso Reyes

I want my MTV. © Damaso Reyes
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Kosovo Declares Independence 
Monday, February 18, 2008, 11:42 - Commentary

Well itís official, Kosovo finally declared independence from Serbia yesterday. It had been a long time coming and is not without controversy but the die has been cast and the people of Kosovo, who are 95% ethnic Albanians, have chosen to move forward after nine years of U.N. supervision.

Pristina, Kosovo 2005. © Damaso Reyes

When I traveled to Kosovo in 2005 the people there were very much in favor of independence and hated the limbo that came with the United Nations. The people I spoke with very much wanted to have a future in which they controlled their own destiny and they felt that could not happen until Kosovo was a sovereign nation. The question now is who will recognize their independence and what will Serbia and Russia do? I hope to get back to Kosovo at some point this year or next because for me the story is just beginningÖ

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HCB Quote of the Week #24 
Saturday, February 16, 2008, 23:20 - Commentary

Working on this story about asylum seekers is really kicking my butt. Sometimes as a photojournalist you feel helpless because you cannot actively help people the way a doctor can. You just have to sit back and document their struggles without being able to do anything about it. Now of course I hope that my images can help in the greater sense of being able to change the way that people see the world but when you see individuals, one of which you could easily be but for an accident of birth and timing, it is hard to keep the distance you need to do the work that must be done. Knowing that the world is unjust on an intellectual level is much different than confronting that injustice on a daily basis. To say the least it makes me uncomfortable, which is only fair since that is the feeling I hope to impart to my viewers.

Found in an asylum seekers center. © Damaso Reyes

In photography, the smallest thing can become a big subject; an insignificant human detail can become a leitmotiv. We see and we make seen as a witness to the world around us; the event, in its natural activity, generates an organic rhythm of forms. - Henri Cartier-Bresson "American Photo", September/October 1997, page: 76

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HCB Quote of the Week #23 
Saturday, February 9, 2008, 16:05 - Travel, Commentary

Yep, Iím in Zurich for the weekend for a meeting and a little downtime with my friend Philippe. I havenít been blogging much because Iíve been in the darkroom every day this week processing film. 48 rolls down, less than 20 to go! Of course I still have to scan and edit all that. Plus next week I think I will finally get to start working on the immigration theme of my project, something that may very well take up the rest of my time in Vienna.

While I was in NYC back in December I got to shoot some of the new Tmax 400 film from Kodak. Hereís a snap of my hometown to go with your HCB Quote of the Week!

In photojournalistic reporting, inevitably, youíre an outsider. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

"American Photo", September/October 1997, page: 76

23rd street looking north. © Damaso Reyes

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HCB Quote of the Week #22 
Saturday, February 2, 2008, 15:36 - Shooting, Commentary

Another week, another ball! I know, itís tough going from one formal ball to another but hey, I made a commitment to document the changing face of Europe! On Thursday I went to the TU Ball, which was conveniently located about five minutes from my door. It was a little more traditional than the Regenbogen Ball (I even had to buy a bow tie) but it was still fun. The Fulbright Commission got a table and we all went to a fun evening of dancing and music. The ball was held at the Hofburg, and it was lavish to say the least.

The name is Reyes, Damaso Reyes

Often while working on this project I feel like an anthropologist but instead of hacking through the jungles of New Guinea I get to don a jacket and tie and hunt the elusive Wiener. It is fun getting a chance to visit these other worlds. I suppose that is what I like most about the camera: it acts as a passport allowing me to enter places and see things that I would otherwise not be able to. With that, here is you HCB Quote of the Week and some photos. Enjoy!

One has to tiptoe lightly and steal up to one's quarry; you don't swish the water when you are fishing. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Everybody dance now. © Damaso Reyes

One step forward... © Damaso Reyes

On the sunny side of the street. © Damaso Reyes

Folk music. © Damaso Reyes

Dancing cheek to cheek. © Damaso Reyes

Eye contact. © Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of the Week #21 
Sunday, January 27, 2008, 01:28 - Shooting, Commentary

Well I have indeed been a busy little bee! In addition to shooting again at the Vienna City Council it is ball season here in Austria. So I have been doing my waltzing lessons and trying to find some dress clothes. Today I attended my very first ball which was the Regenbogen Ball (Rainbow Ball) which is the largest gay and lesbian ball here in Vienna.

Absolutely Fabulous! © Damaso Reyes

Well my goal was to show how diverse this city is and I feel like I have made a good start. The evening was full of elegant men and women of all orientations dancing and celebrating life. While I am not overwhelmed by the results of my digital photographs I have much higher hopes for the black and white. In all honesty I havenít been shooting much digitally (just for you and I hope you appreciate it!) because well I donít have to. Sometimes I just take my two Leicas out when I shoot but I thought you might enjoy a quick snapshot of the night. So after your HCB Quote of the Week enjoy some more photographs of Viennese politics and my first ball!

The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson , Photography Year 1980, LIFE Library of Photography , Page: 22

Private Discussions. © Damaso Reyes

Dancing Cheek to Cheek

Working in the Shadows. © Damaso Reyes

Swirls. © Damaso Reyes

Stand and Deliver.

Grand Entrance. © Damaso Reyes

As I was Saying... © Damaso Reyes

Whispers. © Damaso Reyes

A Little Light Reading. © Damaso Reyes

Applause. © Damaso Reyes

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Fresh Direct 
Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 14:54 - Shooting, Commentary

Politics Time! © Damaso Reyes

In the Halls... © Damaso Reyes

I spent the morning taking photographs at the Vienna City Council (special thanks to Green Party member Marco Schreuder for arranging the visit). Housed in a beautiful 19th century gothic building the City Hall is the nicest municipal building I have been in. The city council, which also serves as the state parliament since Vienna is a city and state, is also remarkably open. Unlike other parliaments or city halls, including New Yorkís, I didnít have to be searched nor put my bag through an x-ray machine. It was only when I was actually photographing in the chamber itself did the occasional inquisitive public servant ask to see my credentials.

Overwatch. © Damaso Reyes

In the Shadows. © Damaso Reyes

As usual people were surprised to hear that I was from New York and found it strange that anyone from there would be interested in the Vienna City Council. Itís funny but almost no matter where I go in Europe, or for that matter the world, people are surprised that I would leave New York to come and photograph wherever I happen to be. I guess it must be the effect of all those movies and television shows that are shot in New York (Vienna has The Third Man but can you think of any other famous movies shot here?) which have made the city seem like the place to be. Granted I love New York but there is a big world out there and all of it is interesting it its own way.

Waiting His Turn. © Damaso Reyes

The Conversation. © Damaso Reyes

The only problem I had this morning was that since the council president was a bit of a stickler for protocol I was only allowed to shoot for a half hour during the question hour. As you know I hate working under pressure but all of those years of shooting press conferences and on deadline have at least come in handy. I wandered around the room, photographing the representatives as well as their aides and those supplicants who vie for a moment of their time.

Behind the Scenes. © Damaso Reyes

The more time I spend photographing in the halls of government the more that I realize that the real governing doesnít happen during the question time or the vigorous back and forth debates that are shown on television or quoted in the newspapers. They happen off to the side, out of the view of the cameras (except for mine!) and the reporters. This is a little bit of what I want to show. Some would say that this is the problem with much of modern government. The U.K.ís parliament is expected to ratify the Lisbon treaty and the fact that the public will likely not get a chance to vote on what will more or less become the E.U. Constitution has sparked a great deal of outrage in that country.

Tomorrow I will return and I hope to spend most of the day photographing various members as they go about their day and give you a little bit of an impression of what political life here is like. Stay tunedÖ

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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day 
Monday, January 21, 2008, 10:13 - Commentary

Once again I am celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day abroad. I suppose that the day takes on an added significance for me here in Europe because were it not for Kingís dream and the hard work he and millions of other put into realizing it I would not have accomplished what I have modestly been able to do. Here in Europe millions of immigrants are also struggling every day to gain recognition, equality and acceptance and I hope that my project can play a role in that struggle.

If you havenít heard the famous I Have a Dream speech I suggest you watch it in its entirety. It is the best speech ever given in the English language. Take some time out to read it as well. Note the metaphors he uses and the powerful imagery his words convey. They are every bit as powerful today as the day they were spoken and just as meaningful.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

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HCB Quote of the Week #20 
Saturday, January 19, 2008, 16:50 - Commentary

So how is everyone doing this weekend? Here in Vienna it looks to be warming up so you know that means lots of street shooting for me! In other news I may have even found a darkroom so keep your fingers crossed. I am setting up some shoots for next week which will hopefully include the Vienna City Council. As usual things tend to come together after a few weeks on the ground which is why it is so important to take your time (and have the time to take) when you are in a new environment. Well enough about me, tell me about your adventures and while you do here is your HCB Quote of the Week!

Everybody loves the sunshine. © Damaso Reyes

You are asking me what makes a good picture. For me, it is the harmony between subject and form that leads each one of those elements to its maximum of expression and vigor. - Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Best of Popular Photography by Harvey V. Fondiller Page: 272

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HCB Quote of the Week #19 
Sunday, January 13, 2008, 00:47 - Commentary

Youíll be happy to know that I have been getting the itch to go out and shoot more and more. I have a few destinations in mind here in Vienna and I will let you know how things develop. I do have to say that I have been enjoying shooting the Leicas quite a bit though I am still trying to adjust shooting two of them and the digital SLR. It is my firmest wish to stop shooting with my SLR by the end of the year, hopefully by then I will be able to afford a digital rangefinder, we shall see.

Longing for Kosovo. © Damaso Reyes

In other news Jimmie and I are sending out our Kosovo proposal once again in the hopes that we can get an American newspaper or magazine to sign on. If you know a foreign editor or happen to own your own publication, feel free to drop me a line. We are aiming to head out around March or April, which would work well with my schedule. Well, with further ado, here is your HCB Quote of the Week!

We often hear of ďcamera anglesĒ (that is, those made by a guy who throws himself flat on his stomach to obtain a cetain effect or style), but the only legitimate angles that exist are those of the geometry of the composition. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Photography Jobs & Opportunities #6 
Monday, January 7, 2008, 21:12 - Commentary

So the internet is all about interactivity, right? Well part of the reason I started this blog was to interact a little more with people. As a photojournalist the usual model of interaction is one way from me to you when you see my photos in a newspaper or magazine. Of course you can post comments (which you havenít been doing by the way) or send emails (ditto). Now itís time to take it to the next level!

"Beer is God's way of telling us that He loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin © Damaso Reyes

So I would like to start having a virtual happy hour. The idea came to me a week or so ago but since I have Skype, I figure it would be a lot of fun to use it not just to chat or talk but to have a drink. This is the concept: we get online at the same time and you drink a beer, or wine or scotch or whateverÖ The key is that you have to have a webcam that way we can drink, talk and see each other! What do you think? I am currently taking reservationsÖ in the meantime here are your Photography Jobs & Opps of the Week!

Knight International Journalism Fellowship- New Media in Latin America

Knight International seeks an experienced multimedia journalist or journalism professor to develop a digital media center at a Latin American university. The Fellow will develop a curriculum, recruit participants and faculty, teach some courses, and oversee the center, which will work with professional journalists and media organizations to increase digital-media capacity across the region.The Knight International Journalism Fellowships program sends international media professionals to key countries where there are opportunities for meaningful and measurable change. Working with partner organizations on high-impact projects, they build skills and enhance the standards of independent news organizations.Qualifications and Skills:- Minimum of 10 years professional journalism or academic journalism experience required - Experience in digital media required - Fluency in Spanish required - Management skills preferred - Experience in Latin America preferred - Fellowship open to any nationality - Fellowship duration is a minimum of 18 months Application: To apply, please send a letter of interest and your resume to For more information, please visit our website at ... ault.aspx.


On March 1, 2008, in honor of Womenís History Month, Humble Arts Foundation, in collaboration with Ladies Lotto , will present ď31 Under 31: Young Women in Art Photography,Ē a month-long exhibition celebrating 31 of the most innovative young women in emerging art photography under the age of 31. No entry fee.
Humble Arts Foundation

The HOME NEWS is looking for a chief photographer

The HOME NEWS, an award-winning group of eight community papers covering the suburbs of Las Vegas, is looking for a chief photographer to shoot and oversee a staff of full-time photographers and stringers.

This position is about half shooting and about half management, coordinating photo assignments, editing and working with photographers and editors. Our photographers do it all, news, sports, features, portraits, sometimes all in the same day. We pride ourselves on strong community journalism and high-quality photography.

For the last two years, Suburban Newspapers of America has recognized HOME NEWS papers as among the best weeklies in the United States. And our photographers are routinely recognized for their work in state and national competitions.
Applicants must possess strong technical and editing skills and be able to contribute to a story with descriptive photos and cut lines. Must be organized and detail-oriented. We prefer a candidate with some management experience, but will consider a strong shooter looking to advance in their career.

A degree in photojournalism or a related field is preferred. Greenspun Media Group offers excellent benefits: medical, dental, vision, life insurance, 401K, tuition reimbursement and more.
Interested candidates, please submit your resume, cover letter and salary requirements via email to

Greenspun Media Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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HCB Quote of the Week #18 
Saturday, January 5, 2008, 19:00 - Commentary

In case you were wondering it is still ridiculously cold here in Vienna but I managed to wake up early to go to the flea market, which as it turned out was walking distance from the MuseumsQuartier. There actually werenít that many vendors, not surprising given the weather but there was a very nice market where I brought some nice fresh pasta as well as tea. Sorry, no photos but you can use your imagination. Afterwards I met up with a local photographer Daniel K. Gebhart who actually has a studio here at the MQ. Well I plan on spending the rest of the day inside my warm studio but here is you HCB Quote of the Week!

Italian Hands in Switzerland. © Damaso Reyes

The photograph itself doesn't interest me. I want only to capture a minute part of reality. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Obama Takes Iowa While I Freeze in Vienna 
Friday, January 4, 2008, 09:44 - Commentary

It is COLD here in Wien but it was very hot yesterday in Iowa! I still havenít ventured very far, just out shopping and wandering a bit but this weekend I will head out to the flea market and snap some pictures and hopefully have more impressions to give you but at first blush I can say that the Austrians are much more laid back and relaxed than the Germans, which is a nice change of pace, I guess it must be because they are Southerners!

The future is now.

So as you all know by now Senator Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses last night by a wide margin. Of course there is still a long way to go but it was a victory that a lot of people did not count on. People questioned his experience, they wondered if he was ready. They felt that it would be better to go with the safe choice but it seems that more people were inspired by his message of hope and change than Hillary Clintonís message of experience and stability. Many of the Germans I talked to in the past few months felt that America would never vote for a black man. But Iowa, a state which is mostly rural and 95% white voted for Obama. As I said to a German many years ago ďAmerica is not a place, it is an idea.Ē

I guess that is why I connect with Obama. My whole life people in power said I was too young, that I wasnít ready, that there were more qualified people out there and then were amazed when I accomplished what I set out to do. And their criticisms where often right: I am too young, there are more qualified people out there but what I have, and what I think Obama has, is vision and passion. And those too qualities are sorely lacking in the world we live in right now. I have a vision of the world which can be better than it is. I believe that we have more in common than we do things that divide us. Finally I hear someone in public service saying the same thing.

And the man can speak.

If you donít believe me then listen to his victory speech from last night and tell me if it doesnít move you. Here is one passage that I particularly enjoyed:

ďFor many months, we've been teased, even derided for talking about hope. But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path.

It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.Ē

The future is here and his name is Obama.

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Happy Endings... HCB Quote of the Week #17 
Saturday, December 29, 2007, 22:14 - Commentary

The end is here!

The end of the year, the end of my time in New York, everything seems to be coming to a close right about now. It has been an incredibly productive year and I wonder what 2008 will be like. Will I finally settle down and find a place to live in Europe? How many countries will I visit? Will I find more funding? These are just some of the questions on my mind as I begin to pack up my life once again and head out to a foreign country. The next time I post I will be in Vienna but until then, here is you HCB Quote of the Week!

Beauty and Truth. Paris 2007. © Damaso Reyes

Reality offers us such wealth that we must cut some of it out on the spot, simplify. The question is, do we always cut out what we should? While we're working, we must be conscious of what we're doing. Sometimes we have the feeling that we've taken a great photo, and yet we continue to unfold. We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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