When it rains... 
Friday, April 6, 2007, 09:43 - Personal, Project News
Stuttgart

ďAsk and ye shall receiveĒ the Gospel of Matthew tells us. Thatís the interesting thing about clichťs, there is at least a kernel of truth in them, otherwise they would not be clichťs. I suppose it is possible that the universe heard my plaintive cry about not feeling accepted and decided that Damaso deserves some validation. So to quote another clichť, when it rains, it poursÖ

Over the past few months, usually in the afternoon, I focused my psychic energy to some room in Vienna, where a group of distinguished people were no doubt gathered around a conference table debating the merits of different candidates. Apparently my focused thoughts, or my talent or proposal or blind luck, seems to have swayed them.

I am a Fulbright Scholar.

Yes, I am as surprised as you are.


Pretty much how I feel right now.© Damaso Reyes

I figured since there was only one slot that it was very unlikely that I would be so honored as to be selected. But next January and February I will be an artist in residence at the Museums Quartier in Vienna.

There is little doubt in my mind that this is indeed a turning point in my life, one that I have worked very hard to achieve. But to say that this success is mine and mine alone would be dishonest. Thanks go to Audrey Jonckheer at Kodak, Elinor Tatum, Publisher of the Amsterdam News, and Deb Willis, Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU for writing me recommendations. I am sure that the kind words of these three strong women played no small role in securing this fellowship.

That I have been given such an honor speaks volumes about the people who have trusted and supported me over the years. I still have a long way to go but your faith in me and my project has sustained me even though the darkest of hours. It is with that faith that I continue on this winding road.

But wait, thereís moreÖ

Just days after I learned of the Fulbright, while I was happily snapping away in Hamburg, I received an email notifying me of an additional honor. I am one of ten American journalists selected to receive an Arthur Burns Fellowship. Thatís right, this summer I will be back in Germany, working for some big time publication, stirring things up. It truly is an embarrassment of riches but after hearing the word NO so many times over the years these two fellowships allow me a sigh of relief.

During one of my many walks in the woods over the past few weeks I often thought of what I would do after my time at Solitude ended. I began conjuring creative ways of keeping the project going and none of them satisfied me. Now I have a little more breathing room to continue to create. I look forward to taking full advantage!

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1462 )

Rights? You don't need any rights.... 
Wednesday, April 4, 2007, 10:10 - Project News, Commentary
Stuttgart

What, you may ask, have I been doing since I have returned from Hamburg. Well beside processing 36 rolls of film in the last 36 hours, I have been trying to set up shoots for an upcoming trip to Berlin towards the end of the month. So you know what that means: endless research, endless phone calls, endless emails, Iíll spare you the details. Add the fact that apparently this week and next many Germans go on holiday because of Easter. On the one hand it will be nice to get some work done without being distracted, on the other there is a whole mess of work I wonít be able to do because no one will be around.



Anyway in addition to trolling the internet for photo shoot ideas I have been thinking about my industry and my own future. I recently read an article on PDNís website which discussed how USA Today, the largest circulation newspaper in America, is asking more rights from its freelancers. This seems to be a never ending dance with major newspapers and magazines like the New York Times on one side and us poor freelancers on the other. Right now, and for some time to come I imagine, there will be an excess of freelance photographers out there. The big corporations clearly have numbers on their side since there always seem to be young selfish photographers out there who want to work for the big boys and donít mind giving up their rights. Eventually the principled photographers who refused to sign the bad contract sign it in order to feed themselves.

And then the companies ask for more rights. Soon it seems like they will ask us to pay them for the privilege of being published. This is one of the aspects of the business of photography which has led me to increasingly apply for fellowships. Over the past three months I havenít thought once about whether I can sell a photograph I have just taken, I just go about working on my project without a care in the world. Which is sort of the way it should be. At the same time I became a photojournalist in order to share my vision with as many people as I can.

It just makes me sad that corporate greed and shortsightedness is making it harder and harderÖ

  |  0 trackbacks   |  related link   |   ( 3 / 1402 )

Month Two 
Thursday, March 8, 2007, 15:54 - Personal, Project News, Commentary
Stuttgart

Well it has been two months since I left New York and arrived here in Germany. In that time I have traveled to a Munich and Cologne and shot and processed nearly a hundred rolls of film.


Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Cologne 2007. ©Damaso Reyes

Since I have been here time has had the dual sensation of moving slowly and quickly at the same time. On the one hand, it feels like I have been here for a long time, on the other, time seems to be slipping by. While I have been fairly productive I still feel like I am spinning my wheels at times, especially when it comes to setting up shoots at various institutions. I think that my stay here at Solitude has taught me to slow down a bit, to spend more time thinking and pondering what it is I am doing and for that I am truly grateful. Yesterday, after running some errands, I simply took a long walk in that park. As the clouds came and went I walked along the verdant paths and thought about the rest of the year, what I would like to be doing and about the long term prospects of the project. It was nice to feel like I had the time and space to think, indeed I think that outlook is going to be crucial to the success of the project. But alas my time here is also finite and I have to really begin to start searching for more long term financing for The Europeans if I am to keep going. As much as I distain the idea of being a business man I am going to have to start moving in that direction if I want to keep this up.

But for now I am enjoying the sanity that this fellowship is providing.

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1568 )

The Commission for the Standardization of Blankets 
Monday, March 5, 2007, 12:00 - Project News
Stuttgart

I know itís hard to believe but I am not an expert in everything. Nor do I want to be. For a long time this project has been more or less a one man show. Well now all of that is about to change.

Last week I was reading a 1962 article from the Complete New Yorker that Ruthie gave me about the formation of the European Community which mentioned a ďCommission for the Standardization of BlanketsĒ which had been toiling in futility for several years. I am not sure that this group actually ever existed but it if didnít, it does now and if it did, it has now been resurrected.

Today I am announcing the formation of the Commission for the Standardization of Blankets. The CSB is an ad hoc panel of experts from different fields who are interested in the goals of The Europeans and wish to use their knowledge and experience to advise and support the project. The role of the members of the Commission is largely to advise me in the execution of the project and to advocate on behalf of The Europeans.


Our gang. Kosovo 2005. ©Damaso Reyes

The first member of the CSB is Philippe Perreaux, a Swiss lawyer specializing in copyright issues. Interested? Do you want to join? Let me knowÖ

Update

The Commission already has its second member! Jean-Baptiste Joly, Director of Academy Schloss Solitude has joined the growing number of fine human beings who are supporting The Europeans. Will you be next?

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1401 )

Off to Cologne! 
Friday, February 16, 2007, 20:27 - Travel, Shooting, Project News, Events
En Route to Cologne

Well here I am, off to Cologne for carnival weekend! Last year I was in New Orleans, which was a lot of fun and hard work. It might be interesting to try carnival in a different city every year, weíll see if we can make a habit out of this. So I will try to post whilst I am away but you might not hear from me until next week. Catch you laterÖ


New Orleans this time last year. ©Damaso Reyes
  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1568 )

Snow Day! 
Thursday, January 25, 2007, 13:36 - Personal, Project News, Commentary
Stuttgart

So it snowed yesterday.


©Damaso Reyes

A lot.


©Damaso Reyes

I had fun.


©Damaso Reyes

I went sledding.


©Damaso Reyes

I got cold and wet.


Going down the hill with a little help. Photo by Ligia Nobre.

But I had fun.

Then I had dinner with some of my fellow fellows and processed 16 rolls of film.

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1365 )

Hide and Sheep 
Friday, January 19, 2007, 00:53 - Shooting, Project News
Stuttgart

So, yesterday I got up all early to go hang out with that shepherd that I met the other day. We were supposed to meet up at nine so I got up, showered, put on my long underwear, got all my camera gear ready and went out into the brisk morning air. I searched and searched but found no sign of the sheep. For the better part of an hour I traipsed around the fields and meadows surrounding the Schloss looking for this guy. Finally I spotted a police car and asked the rather silly question ďhave you seen any sheep today?Ē Indeed they had and pointed me in the right direction.

So I spot the sheep, nicely penned in by a portable plastic fence that even appeared to have some kind of alarm attached. While I was impressed by the technology, the shepherd was no where to be found. I figured he would return soon enough and I decided to hang tight and await his arrival.

So I waited, staring at the sheep, them staring back. If youíve never really been around sheep, they spend most of their time eating, sleeping or going to the bathroom right where they stand.

So I waited some more.

And some more.

Finally well past the time he said that he would be leaving this place, sheep in tow, I decided to go back to the Schloss and have some breakfast, after all, I was cold and tired. Having had a little something I returned to the spot where I had left the sheep little more than a half an hour ago and lo, they had vanished. Of course what I assumed was the shepherdís car was parked in the field, plastic fence neatly wrapped up next to it. But no trace of sheep or shepherd to be found.


But where is the Shepherd? ©Damaso Reyes

Very strange.

In other news, I processed film for the first time, and I didnít screw it up, woo hoo! Results to follow in the next few days. Tomorrow I have to go and try and get my printer from the evil customs guy who is holding it hostageÖ

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1414 )

Arrival 
Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 02:30 - Travel, Personal, Project News
Stuttgart, Germany


I donít know if itís the jet lag, the 400 rolls of film I have sitting in my fridge or the absurdly nice ďstudioĒ that I am working in right now but I am giddy. I arrived a few hours ago and I am duly impressed by the place and I havenít gotten to see nearly all of it yet. Needless to day it is pretty swank, photos to come tomorrow after I have slept and what not.

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3.1 / 1395 )

Tickets please 
Thursday, December 14, 2006, 18:24 - Travel, Project News
New York City

Well, itís official, Iím outta here. I finally bought my ticket to Stuttgart and will be leaving on January 7th. I know itís hard but donít cry, Iíll most likely be back in September. But in the meantime I am encouraging everyone I know to get a headset or a webcam with mic so we can chat online using Skype or one of the dozens of other messaging like AIM or Yahoo! My spanking new laptop has a built-in webcam so I am all set, but how about you?

The closer I get to leaving, the more anxious I get. Iíve done this before, for even longer so it is not simply the fear of the unknown, though that is part of it. I will miss my friends and family that I will leave behind since I will be spending the vast majority of the next few years in Europe. But I am someone who thrives on familiarity, as much as I enjoy exploring. For me itís the little things, trying to find the right bus, figuring out a menu in a foreign language that make me edgy.

At the same time I know that I will be meeting lots of new and interesting people and making the kinds of images that I dream about. For at least six months I would have to worry about rent, or chasing down a check, a dream in and of itself. And because of that I am just as anxious to leave and finally get started. I imagine that the next six months will fly by so I will try to enjoy it as much as I can.

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 2.9 / 1375 )

Photokina Day 1 
Wednesday, September 27, 2006, 19:22 - Travel, Personal, Project News
Cologne




Well here I am at Photokina and I have to say that I am amazed. The Kodak booth. If you can call 30,000 sq. Feet a booth. It was something else to see my photos up on the walls here at the show. Who would have though that a young boy from Brooklyn could do so well?


My photos!

The show here is spread out over ten buildings so I am looking forward to doing some more exploring today and tomorrow. But just seeing my work on display in the company of so many other great photographers has made this trip a success for me already.


  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1522 )

Off to Germany! 
Monday, September 25, 2006, 22:31 - Travel, Project News
Aboard Swissair 17

Well here I am hunting and pecking away on a tiny screen and keyboard. A few days ago I discovered that my laptop died, maybe it knew that I was planning on replacing it. In any event here I am working on this nice little PDA/Phone complete with a version of Microsoft word. Sure it's slow but until I get a new laptop or someone checks out my wish list it will have to do.

Wow, that took about 7 minutes to write. This is going to be a long trip...

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1492 )

Back in action! 
Sunday, August 27, 2006, 00:00 - Travel, Personal, Project News
New York City

Well since I last wrote I have been to New Orleans for the first Mardi Gras since Hurricane Katrina; to the Marine training base at Parris Island, SC; and to Tanzania on a United Nations fellowship. I spent much of the summer building this fine website you have here and taking a breather.


A young girl in Tanzania. ©Damaso Reyes

What I havenít been doing is shooting in Europe, something I plan on correcting next month as I travel to Germany first for Photokina, the huge trade show where Kodak is using some of my images in their booth, and then to shoot in Berlin for the month of October. It will be a great chance to get a taste of Germany before I head there in January for my six month fellowship at Academie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.

I am really looking forward to getting back out on the road and to working on this little project of mine.

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1548 )

The Big Night 
Thursday, February 2, 2006, 20:41 - Shooting, Personal, Project News, Events
New York City

Happy New Year!

Okay, itís a month late but itís the thought that counts, right? Tonight is the opening of the group show I am in at E3 gallery here in New York. After processing all my film and doing quite a bit of printing, the big day is here. I have selected a group of images from my two trips to Kosovo last year. I am pretty happy with the work that I am showing.


A very exciting invitation.

While the show is small it feels like a big step for me. This is the first time that I am showing work from The Europeans, one of what I hope will be many work in progress shows over the next few years. As an artist, I spend a great deal of time working in my own little bubble, not really interacting with people about my work. Tonight I will be presenting my vision to the public, or at least the friends who show up. Putting oneís work out there is always a little bit nerve racking but I believe deeply in this project, no matter how other people might react to the images I show tonight.

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1576 )

Home again, home again... 
Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 01:33 - Travel, Shooting, Project News
Barcelona, Spain

Well today was my last full day in town and I decided to spend it once again wandering about. I took the tram across the harbor and had lunch near the beach. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I am hoping that I can make it back soon.


Barcelona from the air. ©Damaso Reyes

Now it is time to focus on heading back to New York. I will be working on processing this film and printing for a upcoming group show at E3 Gallery. I got a sponsored artist fellowship and get to use the darkroom which will be invaluable to dealing with the dozens and dozens of rolls of film that I have shot over the past weeks.

  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1547 )

Man about town... 
Sunday, November 13, 2005, 00:24 - Shooting, Personal, Project News
Barcelona, Spain

I have spent the past few days coming into town and wandering the streets, visiting museums and monuments including several of Gaudiís masterpieces including the park that he created.


The facade of one of Gaudi's chruches. ©Damaso Reyes

Barcelona is a lovely city. The beach is quite nice, even in November and the people are relatively friendly and there are quite a few expats around. Much like New York, Barcelona is a walking city. The subway is also very easy to navigate and reasonably priced, all things that I am looking for in a city to live in.


Staring at a masterpiece. ©Damaso Reyes

Even when I do settle down in one place, my goal is to spend the better part of each month traveling and shooting. Perhaps two to four weeks out and about shooting a particular story or in a city and then one to three weeks back at base processing, scanning, printing, researching the next shoot and relaxing when I can. This is the plan, anyway.


The top of a steeple. ©Damaso Reyes

In order to make this happen I will have to begin the process of securing more long term funding so I can have the flexibility to run off and shoot something Iím interested in when the mood strikes. Until then I will be applying for grants and artist in residency programs. While I knew there would be a lot of writing and applying involved in this project I donít think I knew just how much of my time would be spent in front of the computer doing research or sending emails. I suppose thatís why I enjoy being out in the field shooting so muchÖ


Looking out over the city. ©Damaso Reyes
  |  0 trackbacks   |   ( 3 / 1497 )


Back Next