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!

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 267 )

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


  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 121 )

100 Kids + Sugar = Lots of Fun! 
Thursday, February 5, 2009, 09:08 - Shooting, Commentary
Sturovo, Slovakia

So the other day I got invited to visit a carnival party that a local elementary school was having. Take 100+ kids under ten, add sugar and music and stir vigorously!


Truth in advertising. © Damaso Reyes

In truth it was actually a lot of fun, for the two hours I lasted. I surely don’t remember ever having that kind of energy but if scientists ever figure out a way of bottling this stuff, they would be rich.


Remains of the day. © Damaso Reyes

One of the things that has surprised me while I have been in Štúrovo is how diverse a place it actually is, given how small it is. Though it is in Slovakia it is actually about 70% Hungarian, which simply speaks to how malleable borders are compared with the nedless reach of history.


Representing the future. © Damaso Reyes

No, what’s far more interesting is the people of color I have found in this town, like the young girl in the middle whose father is from Gambia. From what I have learned there is a Congolese man (the local pharmacist who has lived here for years) as well as a Chinese family and some Vietnamese as well.


Bridging the gap. © Damaso Reyes

Apparently this trend goes back to state socialist times when fraternal communist nations sent people to Eastern Europe to study. Some decided to stay. I was surprised that even in a town of just 11,000 immigration is a fact of everyday life.


Dancing. © Damaso Reyes

I didn’t think I would have that much of an opportunity to explore immigration while I was here but this is exactly why I try not to have too many assumptions before I go to a place. You learn far too much when you actually have an opportunity to live in a place than simply reading about it…

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1258 )

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


  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1596 )

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

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1583 )

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

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1514 )

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

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1570 )

The Song of Brittany 
Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 08:29 - Shooting
Rochefort-en-Terre

On Sunday I had an opportunity to hear some traditional Breton singing at Café Gorvello, just a few towns over. Imagine American idol on a much smaller scale. The event was a local competition for a regional signing festival to be held later next month. Dozens of local residents came out on a lovely Sunday afternoon to sing traditional folk songs.


Keeper of the Flame. © Damaso Reyes


This kind of music is called Kan ha diskan or call and response. The singer will start with several verses and the audience will respond with what we might call the bridge. It was a really interesting experience, especially since almost all of the participants were over 50. As much as there has been a revival of Breton culture over the past thirty years, clearly many parts of this unique heritage are in peril as fewer and fewer young people choose to take on the traditions of their ancestors. Here are a few images!


Song of the shadows. © Damaso Reyes


Documentation. © Damaso Reyes



Noble song. © Damaso Reyes



Local color. © Damaso Reyes




The face of history. © Damaso Reyes

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1518 )

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

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1316 )

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



  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1228 )

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

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1349 )

HCB Quote of the Week #29 
Saturday, March 22, 2008, 16:52 - Shooting, Commentary
Stuttgart


Expanding the frontiers of knowledge. © Damaso Reyes

Sorry for the long absence, I have spent a few days this week photographing once again at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. This time around I spent some time in several different departments including the Division of Medical Physics in Radiation Oncology, Division of Molecular Genetics and the High Resolution Optical Microscopy Research Group. Slowly but surely I am chipping away at the role of science and research in transforming Europe! Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure!


The Optical Microscopy group uses lasers to visualize the smallest parts of cells. © Damaso Reyes


Watch out! © Damaso Reyes


Different colors = different wavelengths of light and resolutions. © Damaso Reyes


Only the light of a computer monitor guides the scientists as they perform their experiments. © Damaso Reyes


A patient prepares to receive radiation therapy. © Damaso Reyes


A radiation treatment session is observed using television cameras. © Damaso Reyes


Fine German engineering at work. © Damaso Reyes


A nurse assists a patient after he receives his treatment. © Damaso Reyes


The machine shop creates many of the tools used by the radiology department. © Damaso Reyes


Boys will be boys. © Damaso Reyes

Next Friday I will leave all this behind for a few weeks and travel back to New York for some rest and relaxation. But fear not, I am plotting my return to Europe in mid-May so stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, enjoy your HCB Quote of the Week!


A lab assistant prepares genetic samples for analysis. © Damaso Reyes


Even a lab bench is a personal space. © Damaso Reyes


Just like mine at home. © Damaso Reyes

And no photographs taken with the aid of flash light, either, if only out of respect for the actual light - even when there isn't any of it. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

  |  0 trackbacks   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 1486 )

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

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 don’t 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.

“I wish that just once I could feel like a human being.”



A strong woman.© Damaso Reyes


Still happy. © Damaso Reyes


A hidden truth. © Damaso Reyes


Edges. © Damaso Reyes


Living history. © Damaso Reyes
  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1455 )

Ute Bock Center 
Thursday, February 14, 2008, 16:18 - Shooting
Vienna

So every day this week I’ve been taking the train to the Ute Bock Center. It is a place where people seeking asylum can come for counseling, legal advice and even housing. The small staff there does wonders with the few resources they have available and they have opened their doors and allowed me to photograph at the center.


Everyone is a foreigner somewhere...

The first day I have to say I was pretty overwhelmed. Many of the asylum seekers come to the center because they are having a problem which can range from an upcoming legal procedure to being threatened with arrest or deportation. They often have to wait for hours before they can see someone and the sense of frustration with the asylum system is palpable.


Waiting...

I haven’t made too many photographs yet, much of the past few days has been about observing and getting comfortable but the more time I spend there the more I see and begin to understand. For the next two weeks I will probably work on this project exclusively, I hope I can do justice to the stories I encounter.


Karin, a staff member. © Damaso Reyes


Frau Bock herself. © Damaso Reyes


Looking for answers... © Damaso Reyes


Waiting for mail. © Damaso Reyes


Thinking. © Damaso Reyes
  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1355 )

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

Another week, another ball! I know, it’s 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
  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1366 )


Back Next