A Winter Festival 
Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 10:42 - Travel, Shooting, Events
Sturovo. Slovakia

Over the weekend I went to an interesting festival (Maskarázás) in Chlaba, nearby town. As it was explained to me the purpose was to banish Winter (which we all hate don’t we?) so that our friend Spring can come along and make us happy. It seemed like a good reason to dress up in strange costumes, play with fire and drink on a Saturday morning. If you don’t believe me check it out for yourselves!


I shall scare you with my… what is that? © Damaso Reyes


Now we must jump over burning bails of hay. © Damaso Reyes


They are very hot! © Damaso Reyes


But they do not frighten me! © Damaso Reyes


Spectacle. © Damaso Reyes


And now we dance! © Damaso Reyes

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A Winter Walk 
Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 08:28 - Travel, Shooting, Personal
Esztergom, Hungary

Winter has been visiting us quite a bit here in Eastern Europe. Now those who know me well understand I am not really in favor of this whole business of cold and snow but sadly until I get that villa in southern Spain I will no doubt be seeing a lot more snow. In the best spirit of adventure I recently crossed the Danube and took a little walk around. Come along for the ride!


One moment. © Damaso Reyes



Footsteps. © Damaso Reyes



The dividing line. © Damaso Reyes


The shore. © Damaso Reyes


Trapped. © Damaso Reyes


A new path. © Damaso Reyes


Reflections. © Damaso Reyes


Sunset. © Damaso Reyes

Wasn’t that a lovely walk?


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Palinka Time! 
Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 12:49 - Travel, Shooting
Štúrovo, Slovakia

So last weekend was not just about dancing, let me tell you! I also got to do some relaxing, which in this part of the world invariably involves drinking, and lots of it. Well, when in Hungary, do as the Hungarians do, I always say!


Opening the taps! © Damaso Reyes

My friend Almos invited me to his hometown where his father makes his own wine, as well as Palinka, a local liquor which is very smooth even if it has an alcohol content “above 50%” as I was informed.


This ain’t just water! © Damaso Reyes

It seems like having a wine cellar is as much of a Hungarian tradition as having a backyard is in America. From what I was told making alcohol is the local pastime, one I can enthusiastically support.


Almos pours out a taste. © Damaso Reyes

I have to say that the wine was excellent, as it should be since it has won several local awards. And the Palinka was even better. Of course I can only sip a little at a time, after all, I would like to keep my insides intact, but it was exceedingly smooth and had a lovely subtle fruit flavor.


All in good fun. © Damaso Reyes

What I like about drinking in Europe, and in Hungary in particular, is that it is a family affair. That is to say that it isn’t stigmatized the way it is in America and children grow up understanding it is a part of life, rather than having adults try to hide it from them. This is a much healthier attitude.


Mmmmmm? © Damaso Reyes

Of course when you drink you must eat, another good thing about the European perspective. Of course when you are a stranger in a strange land you will sometimes encounter new things, as I did…


Mmmmmm! © Damaso Reyes

But fun was certainly had by all!

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Dancing in Budapest 
Monday, February 9, 2009, 12:40 - Travel, Shooting
Budapest

I don’t know about you but I had a pretty busy weekend! There’s so many photos to share that I will have to break it up into two posts. On Friday I went with some friends to Budapest to take in some traditional Hungarian folk dancing.


One moment. © Damaso Reyes

The music may have been traditional, but the crowd was mostly young people in jeans and dresses.


All together now. © Damaso Reyes

From what I was told traditional music and dancing was discouraged under Communism. Today there has been something of a renaissance of all things Hungarian.


Trio. © Damaso Reyes

I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear. Whenever I go into a supermarket, or any public space that has music, I am assaulted by American pop music. If I wanted to listen to Britney Spears I would have stayed in the United States. But here it was nothing but the sweet melodies of the violin that filled the room.


Slowly. © Damaso Reyes

For sure American and Western European influences abound, especially among the youth. But there is an intense pride in the Hungarian identity that is not chauvinistic but proud.


Watching and waiting. © Damaso Reyes

I recorded some music and will hopefully put together some kind of slideshow later in the week. It’s hard to get across the feeling without hearing the music which inspires the dancing.


Smile. © Damaso Reyes


Embrace. © Damaso Reyes


Circle. © Damaso Reyes


Pair. © Damaso Reyes


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First Impressions 
Monday, January 19, 2009, 00:48 - Travel, Project News
Štúrovo, Slovakia


Greetings from Slovakia! It took a while to get here but I had a smooth flight from New York. I spent the afternoon in Budapest getting a brief tour (thanks Imre!) before taking the train here.


Home… © Damaso Reyes


First impressions are always just that: an imperfect view of something you don’t know very well. That said, I think I am going to like it here a lot. The people open, warm and friendly. The town is quite small, only about 11,000 people live here. Being a big city boy it is certainly a change of pace. As I was telling one of the locals yesterday, spending time in a small town like this is important to my project. After all, not everyone lives in Berlin and Paris. Getting a different perspective is the only way I can hope to capture the richness of life in Europe.









Four Views. © Damaso Reyes


So here I am. The next two and a half months will certainly be interesting, hopefully they will be productive as well!


Lovely Sturovo! © Damaso Reyes
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Photo of the Day #92 
Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 14:20 - Travel, Project News, Photo of the Day

Flying away on a jet plane…

So I’m heading for Slovakia on Thursday and there are still a million and one things for me to do so I won’t be blogging much this week. Of course on Monday I will fill you in on some first impressions. Until then, stay well!

Damaso

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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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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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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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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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