Back to the Black Forest 
Thursday, June 7, 2007, 20:07 - Shooting
Schömberg

Today I travelled once again to the Black Forest and the Schömberg Children’s Clinic to photograph some of the patients there. On the way I got off at the wrong stop (who knew that there were two stops called Mühlacker anyway?) and ended up cooling my heels for an hour while reading the New Yorker in the blazing sun. In any event I finally made my way to the clinic where I got to spend the day photographing several young children who are in various stages of rehabilitation. It is simply amazing the amount of courage that these young people have, I sometimes wonder how I would react if I faced a similar challenge in my life.


Dimitar standing tall. © Damaso Reyes


Racing stripes. © Damaso Reyes

One of the most interesting people I met today was not a child at all but an adult patient of the clinic who first came there as a young boy. Peter Borkmann is wheelchair bound but as you can see in these photos he has a boundless spirit. Though he has trouble communicating (or at least I had trouble understanding him) he manages to be one of the most lively and popular patients in the clinic and even has his own website.


Saint Peter. © Damaso Reyes


Open to suggestions. © Damaso Reyes


Damaso & Peter. © Damaso Reyes

I still don’t know quite where I am going with this work but one of the advantages of being here and working while on this fellowship is that I can work without the pressure of knowing exactly what fruit any particular shoot will bear. Now if only I can maintain this extravagant lifestyle somehow…


Happy go lucky. © Damaso Reyes
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Ich mochte eine Leica M6! 
Wednesday, June 6, 2007, 02:08 - Travel, Personal
Solms

I am a changed man.


Leica lenses under construction. © Damaso Reyes

Sure I use and enjoy working with a rangefinder but for as long as I have been photographing I have been using SLR cameras. There are a lot of different reasons for this but like most artists I have been evolving my practice over the past ten years. First I found the joy of using large aperture prime lenses. Then I learned to get as close as possible to my subject. Later I learned to make my photographs increasingly subtle.


Testing the glass. © Damaso Reyes

Today I visited the Leica factory in Solms. In many ways it was very much a pilgrimage. It was like visiting a holy place, a location where photography and photojournalism is still revered in a world where it is increasingly seen as a relic of a bygone age.


Handmade and hands on. © Damaso Reyes

I saw dozens of craftspeople lovingly polishing and grinding lenses, assembling and testing cameras. The pride that everyone there takes in making the world’s finest cameras was clear and made me think about my own practice and what I need to change.

The past five months have given me a wonderful opportunity to find a new way of working, one that is defined by the word SLOWLY. This trip added the final piece of the puzzle. Rather than carrying a 10 or 15 kilo bag full of heavy slrs, I think it is time for me to fully embrace the rangefinder.

Does anyone have a few thousand Euros I could borrow to buy some new cameras and lenses? Or maybe you have an old M3 or M5 that is just gathering dust on a shelf? I’d be happy to put it to good use!


Finishing touches. © Damaso Reyes

I have always felt that knowing what you what is the hardest thing to discover, figuring out how to achieve it always ends up being the easier task.

Special thanks to Michael Agel for showing me around!
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Off to Solms 
Monday, June 4, 2007, 11:40 - Travel
Stuttgart

I am very excited!


Oh happy day! © Damaso Reyes

Tomorrow I get to photograph at the Leica factory!

It feels a little like a religious pilgrimage, going to the place where the 35mm rangefinder camera was more or less invented and refined. So many great images have been taken with these bodies and lenses, it should be a fun little excursion.


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Children's Hospital 
Friday, June 1, 2007, 17:36 - Shooting
Stuttgart

Well as much as I have enjoyed basking in the afterglow of my show, drinking beer and sleeping until noon, I can only stay idle so long. Back to “work” it is for me and yesterday I traveled to the Black Forest to visit the Schömberg Children´s
Neuropediatric and Rehabilitation Hospital
.


A little charmer. © Damaso Reyes

A few months ago I met a fellow artist Doctor Uwe Petruch at a symposium here at Solitude. After he told me about his job I suggested that I come and photograph, as I often do when I meet interesting people. After several months of back and forth we were finally able to fix a date and yesterday I took the train through the hills and towards the forest.


Toy trucks. © Damaso Reyes

The hospital is quite small, only about 65 beds and the children there suffer from both trauma caused by accidents as well as neurological disorders caused by hereditary diseases and birth defects. While I have spent some time in rehabilitation centers after my good friend Al had an accident two years ago, it was still a little tough to see small children suffering. But after a little while I discovered that despite their problems the children are still very much children underneath it all. While there I briefly photographed a lovely young Turkish-German boy named Emre. I plan on going back next week to do more work. While I don’t know exactly how this work fits into my larger project it is important to me to follow this thread wherever it leads. As always, we shall see…


Mother and child. © Damaso Reyes
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The Show... 
Monday, May 28, 2007, 15:05 - Project News, Events
Stuttgart

Well opening night was very much a success although some severe rain and hail but before 8 seems to have kept some people from making the drive up to the castle. The show was already up by Wednesday, thanks to the help of Herrs Horst and Ludwig and by lunchtime on Thursday everything was done, leaving me with several hours to kill. I took a walk in the woods and contemplated the long journey which has brought me here. As I walked down the forest paths my thoughts turned towards the future and just where it will take me. As happy as I am to see my work displayed up on the walls I know that this is just a beginning; as happy as I am with the quality of the work I know that it must, and will become much, much better.


Welcome! © Damaso Reyes

In many ways satisfaction for me is fleeting. I am proud of what I have accomplished thus far but I feel that I have so much further to go. This project is like chasing a ghost in some ways and I often wonder if at the end the accumulation of these years of photographs will become large enough or dense enough or meaningful enough to bring some kind of understand to the times in which we live. I suppose I can’t fixate on that too much since the ultimate judgment on this work will not belong to me in any event.


© Damaso Reyes

But I can enjoy looking at the walls and seeing the hard work of the past months!


© Damaso Reyes

I will be back with more images of the show at some point in the near future…


© Damaso Reyes


© Damaso Reyes


© Damaso Reyes
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Opening NIght 
Thursday, May 24, 2007, 11:02 - Project News
Stuttgart

Well today is the big day, my exhibition here at Solitude opens tonight! It’s been a lot of work but I am very excited, it’s hard to believe that I am finally done with all the preparations. This show represents the first time I am showing work from The Europeans here in Europe as well as the largest number of images I have ever exhibited. I am very interested to find out what Germans and other Europeans think about the photographs I have taken over the past few months.


Touching the Void. Berlin © Damaso Reyes


Brain surgery in Hamburg. © Damaso Reyes

I have also updated my website with several new galleries including images of Hamburg, the Cardinal of Berlin, a brain surgery and the Port of Hamburg. Feel free to browse and don’t forget to tell me what you think!

I hope you all have a chance to stop by tonight, if not I will be posting some images from the opening night reception! Wish me luck…


Music in Stuttgart. © Damaso Reyes
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Still Working... 
Monday, May 21, 2007, 11:28 - Project News
Stuttgart

I’m still here, working on the show which opens here at Solitude on Thursday. You’ll be happy to know that I have selected 33 images from my time here in Germany to display. It will be interesting to see what people think! I will be also adding galleries to the website in the coming days as well. Here’s a quick preview…


Art for Art's sake. © Damaso Reyes


Carnival in Koln. © Damaso Reyes


May 1st in Berlin. © Damaso Reyes


The loyal opposition in Stuttgart. © Damaso Reyes
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Getting Ready... 
Saturday, May 12, 2007, 13:35 - Project News
Stuttgart

Sorry I haven’t been around much but I am furiously preparing for my show which opens on May 24th. If you’re around, you should really stop by! In any event, life will get back to normal, whatever that means, after I am finished scanning and prepping the images to be printed. Wish me luck…


May Day 2007. © Damaso Reyes
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Four Months On... 
Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 21:32 - Project News
Stuttgart

Well it has been four very interesting and productive months for me here in Germany. It seems like just yesterday I was boarding a plane at JFK to head here. In the past four months I have shot over 130 rolls of film, capturing countless images. I feel like my time here thus far has put me well on the path to creating a body of work, something I have been searching for ever since I began this project over two years ago. Of course I have a great deal of work left to do before I leave Solitude in July but my time in Germany will not be finished since I will return in August for another fellowship.


Another brick in the Wall. © Damaso Reyes

In other good news I will have the opportunity to return to Solitude for October and November as well. I hope to use this extra time to dig even deeper and do some of the shoots that I haven’t had time to work on yet.

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Mayday, Mayday... 
Thursday, May 3, 2007, 01:23 - Shooting
Berlin

Well yesterday I spent the day photographing the various demonstrations here in Berlin held in honor of May 1st, the international labor day. It was a little anticlimactic since I had been led to believe that there would be some clashes with the police and general unrest but nevertheless, there were plenty of good images to go around. Here is a small sample of what I shot…


Speeches... © Damaso Reyes


Police... © Damaso Reyes


Love... © Damaso Reyes


Statements... © Damaso Reyes


Banners... © Damaso Reyes


Anger... © Damaso Reyes


Che... © Damaso Reyes
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Springtime in Germany... 
Saturday, April 28, 2007, 03:17 - Travel, Shooting
Berlin

Berlin in springtime is much nicer than in winter, that’s for sure. I have been wandering around the city with my friend Anna, who is visiting from NYC. Among other things, we have been visiting graveyards where we found some cool old fonts on the tombstones; we have been to a few museums and seen some cool art; we have toured the Berlin Wall and seen a few nice sunsets.


Apes on the Wall. © Damaso Reyes

We’ve also been taking advantage of all the nice things that a big city has to offer including having great sushi and visiting the local establishments which serve alcohol.


Che on the Wall. © Damaso Reyes

Of course I have been working, this week I photographed the Cardinal of Berlin as well as Anna Luhrmann one of the youngest members of the German Parliament. Stay tuned for photos!


A cool tombstone font. © Damaso Reyes


I want one for my house. © Damaso Reyes


Camera phones are cool. © Damaso Reyes

I am looking forward to shooting on Mayday, which I have been told can be quite exciting here in Berlin!


Sunset in Berlin. © Damaso Reyes
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Chillin' in Berlin 
Tuesday, April 24, 2007, 14:22 - Shooting
Berlin

The first time I came to Berlin last winter I was a bit underwhelmed. The Soviet architecture which dominates much of the city was a bit oppressive and the weather was cold and a bit dark. Of course now spring is in full swing and the city has truly come to life. I have spent the past few days exploring the city, mostly by foot, and have discovered some very interesting little nooks. Walking along the city’s river, the Spree, has been especially fun and I have managed to find a lot of little green areas. In short I am having way more fun than I thought I would and I hope to continue to do so.


Taking the train from Stuttgart to Berlin. © Damaso Reyes

In other news, I have begun to blog for Young Germany, a website run by the German government to encourage young people to come and work and study here in Germany. You can check out my first blog posting as well as some galleries of my photos! It should be an interesting experience, who knew I would become so prolific?

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Interlude... 
Monday, April 23, 2007, 14:57 - Personal
Berlin

Here is a little Interlude to keep you entertained, don’t worry, I am having fun….

Lovely Dark and Deep



The view from Solitude. © Damaso Reyes

There are many things that I love about Solitude. The freedom to work at my own pace, the support I get from the staff, the wonderful cadre of other artists who are here with me. But I have unexpectedly fallen in love with the woods that surround us.


Jan Bodin walking down a trail. © Damaso Reyes

I’ve always been a city boy, I was after all born and raised in New York City. I remember taking a field trip in the 5th grade to go apple picking and when we got off the bus I commented to a teacher that the air smelled funny. “Yes,” she replied. “That’s because it’s clean,” she added. Yes we have trees in Brooklyn but I have never spent such an extended period surrounded by nature.


Spring green. © Damaso Reyes

At first the woods were mysterious and a bit overwhelming. Slowly I began to venture in, a few hundred meters at first, then slowly I began to go deeper with the help of some of the other fellows who weren’t as reserved as I was. Before long a short trip into the woods became part of my weekly routine. Then longer trips, an hour, two hours of walking the trails became a daily habit.


Water and woods. © Damaso Reyes

The woods offer a kind of peace that I hadn’t experienced before. Much like in the city you are surrounded and at the same time all alone. But in the woods often you are alone, without another person in sight. During my walks I think about my life, this project, our future together. Sometimes my mind simply wanders unable to grasp a hold to a single train of though.


Bark. © Damaso Reyes

But as I walk through these woods, lovely, dark and deep as they are I feel that I may just find what it is I am looking for if I keep walking. The forest continues to surprise and comfort me.


Nature at work. © Damaso Reyes


Forest man. © Damaso Reyes


Wildlife. © Damaso Reyes


Scary tree. © Damaso Reyes


The view from here. © Damaso Reyes
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Off to Berlin! 
Saturday, April 21, 2007, 12:55 - Project News
Stuttgart

Well I am off to Berlin this morning for twelve days of shooting and exploring. I hope to post fairly often but hey, I may very well be busy! So in the mean time enjoy whatever Interludes I put up here! Catch you later…..


A flea market in Berlin. © Damaso Reyes
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New Galleries 
Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 12:55 - Project News
Stuttgart

Well it’s about time!

I have finally managed to update my website with new image galleries. I know you’re so excited. You can see photographs from such exotic destinations as Berlin, Cologne and of course Stuttgart.


The Bundestag in Berlin. © Damaso Reyes

But wait, there’s more…


Che on the Wall in Berlin. © Damaso Reyes

You can also see images of the Bundestag in Berlin and the Landtag here in Stuttgart in my Politics gallery. I am indeed the munificent, aren’t I?


The forest near Stuttgart. © Damaso Reyes

Of course I have taken many more images that I still have to scan, edit and post, not to mention an upcoming trip to Berlin where I will be doing quite a number of shoots, but I promise that you will see that work far more quickly, if for no other reason than the show I have here at the end of May. But in the meantime, enjoy!


The State Parliament in Stuttgart. © Damaso Reyes
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