Sunset on Barcelona's Knife Sharpeners 
Friday, September 6, 2013, 20:00 - Commentary
Barcelona

"Like it? No. But I have to eat," 77 year-old Erique, one of Barcelona's last knife sharpeners tells me when I ask why he continues to get up before dawn to ride his scooter around the city in search of customers. For more than forty years he has taken his mobile sharpening stand attached to his Vespa around Catalonia.



He says he continues to work because the pension available to him wouldn't support him. At the same time his customer base continues to shrink. Among the other knife sharpers all are well past retirement age. In an age of cheap knives from China that can be purchased at local stores it is hard to imagine that Enrique's profession will last much longer.



Unlike the tens of thousands of Spaniards who have fled the economic downturn fro greener, if not warmer pastures in Germany and Scandinavia men and woman like this knife sharpener are tied to their nation both by familial obligations as well as age.
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The Knife Sharper's Whistle 
Thursday, September 5, 2013, 10:59 - Shooting, Commentary
Barcelona

For months I had been hearing a peculiar whistle sound every few weeks. After some investigation it turned out that it was one of Barcelona's few remaining knife sharpeners.



Enrique started in his profession forty years ago at the urging of an uncle. At the time he worked in a factory earning the equivalent of five to seven euros a month. On a lark he went with his uncle one Sunday and earned a quarter of his monthly wage in just a day.

Riding his antique Vespa around Barcelona he says he has to get up earlier and drive farther for the few remaining customers he has which tend to be restaurants.

When you can buy a sharp knife from Ikea for five euros why spend two euros to have that same knife sharpened when it gets dull? Enrique is just one of many Spaniards being buffeted by the winds of economic change.
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Back to the Start 
Friday, May 11, 2012, 14:08 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
London


After a seven year absence I am back in London. When I began The Europeans my hope was not simply to capture Europe as it is but also as it changes over time. This week I returned to Parliament Square where I first met anti-war activist Brian Haw.


Brian Haw. London 2005

Sadly last year Brian died after more than ten years of spreading his message. I returned to the spot where I first met him and was pleasantly surprised to find that the movement has outlived the man.



Often I meet and photograph people having no idea of how important they are or will be to me or others. This project has been a real journey of discovery for me and perhaps more than anything has forced me to realize just how interconnected we are and the impact we have on each otherís lives.
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The Boy is Back in Town 
Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 09:09 - Travel, Project News, Commentary, Photo of the Day
Barcelona



It took me 1 year, 5 months and 10 days to return to Barcelona.

But I have returned.

"Haven't you been saying that for a while now?" Doubters would ask when I told them I was moving here. Timetables shifted, plans were delayed.

But I have returned.

It has been my experience that plans are just that and that reality has a funny way of getting in the way of even the best laid plans. But when I say I'm going to do something I do it. It might take longer than I imagine and be more difficult than I can conceive but I get it done.

So doubters, continue to doubt but look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: "is this it? Is this what my life is about, how close I will ever come to my dream?"

The answer for me is always no.
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Auf Wiedersehen 
Sunday, November 7, 2010, 22:26 - Travel, Personal, Project News, Commentary


Well I'm off for NYC once again. While my time here is done you will be seeing more images from Vienna over the coming weeks. In the meantime don't forget to visit my other blog at damaso.com/blog which I update every weekday. Until I see you again, take care!
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Exhibition Opening in Vienna 
Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 10:26 - Project News, Commentary
Thanks to everyone who came out to my exhibition opening in Vienna last night!


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Guest Post on Leica Camera Blog 
Friday, October 29, 2010, 08:12 - Project News, Commentary
The work for my upcoming show, Vienna From The Shadows, was featured this week on the official Leica Camera blog. Take a look if you have a chance...



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The Seeker 
Tuesday, March 2, 2010, 09:04 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
As much as we might like them to be photographs are not answers, they are questions. When I began chasing the question of how Europe is changing as the European Union expands I never expected to encounter an answer. Instead I sought to challenge my own assumptions about this place and its diverse people.



Monument. Budapest 2009

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Since I've been gone 
Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 13:01 - Project News, Commentary
Long time no speak!


Singing the song. Brittany 2008.

So what have I been up to you ask? Well this and that is the real answer. Teaching, thinking and of course constantly applying for grants and fellowships not to mention plotting my return to Europe. Iím aiming for mid April, if not sooner. My goal is to make the transition as stable as possible and of course that takes resources so like a bear getting ready for winter Iím working hard and stocking up. Stay tunedÖ


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Freedom of Worship 
Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 09:30 - Travel, Shooting, Commentary
I had a chance to visit the Kephas church in Vienna during my stay in that fine city and here are some images. Unlike many other parts of Austria society the worshipers at Kephas really believe in a diverse society and the benefits that brings. The congregation is multinational and there are many mixed race couples there as well. Itís an interesting peek into what might be the future of EuropeÖ


Praising His name.



The power and the glory.



Jesus is the rock.



Music plays an integral role in services.



Lost in prayer.



Dancing for Jesus.



Looking upwards.




Hand to God.

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New Galleries from Brittany 
Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 07:21 - Travel, Project News, Commentary
Vienna

But where are the photos? That is what people always ask. Working in film and in black and white means that I canít just show someone the photo Iíve taken five seconds later. It takes time. Days, weeks even months later I produce the ďresults.Ē While I certainly do enjoy the end product as an artist itís actually the action of taking the photograph, the experience of being in a place at a certain time that is even more interesting. The film will be there if I develop it the next day or the next year; it is the experience of living and working in a place that really makes this craft interesting, at least to me.


Foreign influences. © Damaso Reyes

The photograph is a document, a reminder of what has been but it is nothing but a shadow of what was, even if it is a lovely shadow. I would never trade the experience of making the photo for the actual photo itself because for me the act of creation is what is interesting. Walking down a city street, waiting in an office, simply being in a place or meeting a person you otherwise would never encounter is what appeals to me as a photographer. The camera imparts a freedom that as a young poor child in Brooklyn I could have scarcely imagined. Today the only limits I have are those I place upon myself, thanks to my camera cum passport.


Generations of song. © Damaso Reyes


To that end I make my images available (both to myself and others) when I damn well feel like it. The nice thing about not having a deadline is that you donít have to rush; you can reflect, relax and actually think. But eventually you do want to see what youíve done so here are links to images from Brittany that I took last year. While I rather like many of the images, of course Iíd like to go back and do more work; such is life. But there are some real stars in these galleries so take a lookÖ


Circus performer. © Damaso Reyes

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Gone but not Forgotten 
Tuesday, November 10, 2009, 14:30 - Commentary, Photo of the Day
Vienna


Student protester. Vienna 2009

Do real leftists wear Che shirts?

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And the Walls Came Tumbling Down... 
Monday, November 9, 2009, 06:17 - Personal, Commentary
In order to know where we are going it is important to think about where we have been. Twenty years ago the wall between east and west Germany began to fall and a new chapter began. Now all we have are the remnants and our memories, not to mention our history, which follows us around like a shadow. Sometimes itís good to stop and look at the shadowÖ


The end of the wall. Berlin 2006. © Damaso Reyes

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Back in the Saddle Again 
Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 10:34 - Shooting, Commentary
Vienna

Well itís snowing right now in Vienna which should give you an idea that I am no longer in the warm embrace of the Mediterranean coast. It just canít all be beach days and sunshine, can it? Vienna is much as I remember it from my trip last year. The smell of wood burning in fireplaces is a welcome sensation. These first few days have been slow; acclimatizing to the city again and figuring out what I want to try to accomplish while I am here. Just walking the streets in this city is a real pleasure and I am having a good time shooting. Donít worry, there will be some organized photography as well, in fact last Sunday I returned to the Jewish cemetery here where a volunteer day had been arranged to help clear some of the creeping vegetation. Here are a few images from the past five daysÖ


Local produce.



The carnivore option



The past in the present.


The Wild West.

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Goodbye Barcelona, Hello Wien 
Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 10:28 - Travel, Commentary
Barcelona

Itís been an interesting month here in Barcelona. I have certainly gotten to know the city much better, which was one of my strategic aims. Often photography is not actually about taking photos; it is about laying the groundwork so you can take pictures. That having been said I did shoot a whole lot of film, mostly street photography but I managed some organized shoots as well.


Shadow and light. Barcelona 2009

I do feel like this is the city for me and I look forward to returning next spring to set up a base of operations. The town has a wonderful energy which is difficult to describe but I found the people warm and open, just the kind of place I want to live. Now it is upwards and eastwards towards Vienna!

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