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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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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Dinner with Madame Klots 
Thursday, September 18, 2008, 14:24 - Personal
Rochefort-en-Terre


All is well here in Western France and as my time here dwindles I am shooting more and more. But that does not mean that I do not have time to, as we say, have a good time. Last week Madam Isabel Klots invited several of the American artists in town for dinner and we had a great time. Mrs. Klots is the wife and daughter-in-law of Trafford and Alfred Klots, the American painters who brought the chateau here in Rochefort. Nineteen years ago Mrs. Klots, in cooperation with MICA, started the residency program here to honor the memory of her husband and father-in-law. She missed all the artists who used to stay here in Rochefort when her husband was alive and because of her generosity for nearly twenty years artists have had the opportunity to come here.


The Madame receives us. © Damaso Reyes


And what a reception it was! © Damaso Reyes


We had all we desired. © Damaso Reyes


And I mean everything! © Damaso Reyes


It was hard to keep up… © Damaso Reyes



But we tried our best! © Damaso Reyes



Dinner was excellent! © Damaso Reyes


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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

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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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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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