EU Constitution 
Wednesday, October 31, 2007, 13:50 - Commentary
Stuttgart

Happy Halloween! I am sure that some of you reading from the States will be dressing up and have fun tonight. I was never much of a fan of Halloween myself but I always enjoyed seeing what costumes other people decided to wear.

We have been having a bit of trick or treating here in Europe as well. If you hadnít noticed (donít worry I didnít either) apparently the European Union has a new constitution, or treaty, or something. As you might recall in 2005 Dutch and French voters rejected the 500 odd page constitution. EU heads of state decided not to risk a repeat of the fiasco two years ago and instead submitted a ďtreatyĒ for the approval of their parliaments.


The Hidden Hand. © Damaso Reyes


As The Economist notes in two good articles this so called treaty is in fact a constitution in sheepís clothing! This is more or less a slap in the face to the various citizens of EU member states who have been insisting on a vote. Knowing they faced an uphill battle it seems that the leaders of Europe simply decided to skip the part where they consulted their populations.

As I have said many times the project of creating a more integrated Europe has for decades happened on the highest levels and in smoke filled back rooms. Treaties were hammered out and unpopular but necessary policies were put into place. The time for back room is over; if the EU is to become more than the sum of its parts then the people of Europe not only need to be consulted, they need to vote in its favor. More importantly, the leaders of Europe need to present their case to the people of Europe and encourage and participate in an open and frank discussion about the future of Europe. The reason why so many Europeans feel alienated and resentful of the EU is because they believe that they donít have a real role in shaping it or its decisions.

This latest stunt will do little to reassure the EuroskepticsÖ

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HCB Quote of the Week #8 
Saturday, October 27, 2007, 20:22 - Commentary
Stuttgart

Hello from the forest! Here is your HCB Quote of the week and it is a good one!


© Damaso Reyes

I'm not responsible for my photographs. Photography is not documentary, but intuition, a poetic experience. It's drowning yourself, dissolving yourself, and then sniff, sniff, sniff Ė being sensitive to coincidence. You can't go looking for it; you can't want it, or you want get it. First you must lose your self. Then it happens. -Henri Cartier-Bresson, September/October 1997, "American Photo" , page: 96

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Heidelberg 
Friday, October 26, 2007, 00:07 - Shooting
Heidelberg

So today, as promised, I went to the German Center Research Center. Today was more of an informal get to know you session. I only shot a few images but I got to take a bit of a tour of the place and I sat down and talked about my project with Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Frank RŲsl, whose lab I will be photographing in next week. If you are familiar with my previous work you know that I did a whole series of articles on cancer survivors back in New York.


In the lab. © Damaso Reyes

His research is dealing with viral transformation mechanisms. From his webpage: ďOne major aim of our research is the identification of intracellular surveillance mechanisms, which control the expression of human pathogenic papillomaviruses (e. g. HPV16/18) in immortalized cells.Ē


Flags of many colors. © Damaso Reyes

My high school biology teacher would be very proud. So what does this have to do with how Europe is changing? Well do I really have to spell it out? Of course I do! For one thing the center is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, for another it is very international, hosting scientists and students not just from all over Europe but all over the world. Increasingly Germany, as well as Western Europe is becoming more diverse and international. With programs like Erasmus there is a tremendous amount of cross pollination going on, changing the culture of the continent.

So there!

I hope to have a few chances to visit the lab, but of course my time is growing short and the number of things that I want to photograph seems to be piling up. My goal is to have all of my post production work for the year done before I head back to New York for December but this may just be a dream.

But oh how I love to dream!

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Dollar Decline... 
Thursday, October 25, 2007, 02:11 - Project News, Commentary
Stuttgart

In case you were still wondering, the American dollar is still heading downward. Even the Indian Rupee is kicking our butt. Everyone is bailing on the Greenback. Not so bad if you are earning Euros and buying in dollars. Not so much fun if you make dollars and have to spend Euros. Thatís why I have to change things from dollars to Euros on my contributions page, but donít worry, you can still get the cheap dollar advantage at The Wish List.


Down, Down, Down...

Tomorrow I head off to the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center) to photograph. I certainly do love my science labs, donít I? It should be an interesting experience to check out a little more of the pure research side of science, I look forward to sharing photos with you soon!

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The Congregation of Hameln 
Sunday, October 21, 2007, 14:44 - Shooting
Stuttgart

Well it certainly has been a long week! From Paris to Hameln in just five days, funny huh? As exciting as the life of an international photojournalist can be it can also get a little tiring, next week should be a bit quieter with only one shoot scheduled, but of course there is no shortage of editing, processing and research to do, I wonder how much of it I will actually get to?


My Israel is... © Damaso Reyes

So I arrived in Hameln, which is about 30 kilometers from Hannover, in the mid afternoon and made my way to the synagogue, which is housed in a non-descript building near the main train station. There I found Adrian, who was already hard at work tutoring a young boy who was preparing for his bar mitzvah. I quickly got down to work, photographing them as they worked together on reading and writing in Hebrew. Before too long members of the congregation began to trickle in, each one with a warm Shabbat Shalom on his or her lips.


Adrian. © Damaso Reyes


Teaching. © Damaso Reyes

When I returned to Solitude yesterday I was asked at least half a dozen times why I went all the way to Hameln to photograph. Well if there is anything which exemplifies the changes that Europe is experience perhaps it is the congregation here. Made up primarily of Russian Jews who came to Germany in the past decade after the country opened its doors the congregation embodies the issues of immigration and identity perfectly. Adrian, a convert to Judaism himself, is another great example of the changing face of Europe.


Candles. © Damaso Reyes


Father and Daughter. © Damaso Reyes

The service was filled with German, Hebrew and Russian, songs and fellowship. Afterwards the congregation came together and shared a meal. Yesterday morning found me there once again and I continued my work, some of which you see here. I also managed to record some of Friday nightís service, at some point I think I will experiment with creating an audio slideshow since song and music is such an important part of Shabbat.


Torah reading. © Damaso Reyes

I hope to have the chance to return next month and continue my work, the more time I spend with Adrian the more interesting I find his journey.


© Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of the Week #7 
Saturday, October 20, 2007, 13:52 - Commentary
Hameln

Greetings from Hameln, here is your HCB Quote of the week!

To take photographs means to recognize -- simultaneously and within a fraction of a second -- both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis. -Henri Cartier-Bresson



Holy hand© Damaso Reyes
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EPA Meeting 
Thursday, October 18, 2007, 14:50 - Project News
Frankfurt

Sorry I havenít been around much, after recovering from my trip to Paris and hitting the sauna I had to prepare for a meeting I had today at the European Pressphoto Agency. I went there with Philippe, a former fellow here at solitude and expert in copyright issues who is an adviser to EPA. He mentioned my project once or twice and managed to set up a meeting. So we drove from Stuttgart to Frankfurt today for what could be a life changing meeting.


© Damaso Reyes

I met with the editor in chief and the managing editor for over an hour. I talked about the background of the project, what I was trying to accomplish and the potential for collaboration with the EPA. It was a very good meeting and they were both very receptive to the project. It went as well as I could have hoped, now of course the devil is and in the details and the next few months we will see if something can be worked out. But I am very positive; it is always refreshing to meet people in the industry who are actually forward thinking and who believe in the power of images to change the world.

Tomorrow I head to Hameln where I will photograph a small Jewish congregation there. The fun never stops!

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Goodbye Paris! 
Monday, October 15, 2007, 15:07 - Travel
Paris

Well my adventure here comes to an end! I am making my way back to Stuttgart this morning after an incredible six days here in Paris. I saw so much art, ate so much good food and yes, met so many nice people! Special thanks to Marie, Gregoire and Matthias for putting me up and showing me around town. I really feel a connection to this city and I am looking forward to coming back soon and often!









Cloud series. © Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of Week #6 
Saturday, October 13, 2007, 14:02 - Commentary
Paris

A greeting from Paris, here is your HCB Quote of the Week!


Paris at sunset. © Damaso Reyes

Photography appears to be an easy activity; in fact it is a varied and ambiguous process in which the only common denominator among its practitioners is in the instrument. -Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Paris Je t'aime 
Thursday, October 11, 2007, 14:58 - Travel
Paris


The River Seine. © Damaso Reyes

Itís hard to know where to start! First, I completely understand why so many American artists have fallen in love with this city, it truly is beautiful. You can tell the difference between Germany and France as soon as you step on board the TGV. A little nicer, a little more stylish, a little more comfortable, it was a smooth and pleasant three and a half hour ride. I was staying with some friends in the 13th Arrondissement, a very pleasant part of town. Yesterday the jury of the photo festival met and we spent much of the morning arguing about photos. We managed to narrow it down to about ten but we will come together again on Friday to pick the winners. This is the second jury I have been a part of an each time I feel like I understand the process a bit better. While it is great to have a diverse jury; on our panel we had photographers, gallerists and industry executives, it can also be frustrating. Most of the time the winners are more compromises than anything else although I think that we have agreed on the first place winner, which is very strong indeed.


Stained Glass. © Damaso Reyes


Cross. © Damaso Reyes


Candles. © Damaso Reyes


Brought to you by the letter H. © Damaso Reyes

I spent the rest of the day wandering about. I walked along the Seine, visited Notre Dame and just took in the place. One thing I love about Paris is that it truly is a walking city, much like New York.


Facade. © Damaso Reyes

Today I spent the day hitting several museums including the Louvre and the Pompidou, which left me exhausted. You could spend weeks just going to all the museums and galleries in this city. The more time I spend here the more I think it would be a nice place to live for a little while, assuming I could find a way to pay for it!

I also saw that big tower they have hereÖ


© Damaso Reyes
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Paris Bound! 
Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 06:57 - Travel
Stuttgart

I am off to Paris for the first time this afternoon! I will be on the jury of the Aella Foto Latino festival as well as taking some time to explore and photograph the city. I look forward to telling you all about my adventures; have fun while I am gone!


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HCB Quote of the Week #5 
Saturday, October 6, 2007, 16:29 - Commentary
Stuttgart

Well I am almost done processing film! Today I think I will go into town and do a little shooting, maybe hit the local flea market; you never know what you will find after all! I hope you are ready for another pearl of wisdom!


Marine Corps training. © Damaso Reyes

The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt. -Henri Cartier-Bresson, "Photography Year 1980, LIFE Library of Photograph,Ē page 27

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Reel Fun 
Thursday, October 4, 2007, 14:28 - Commentary
October 4, 2007
Stuttgart


Itís hard not to emphasize what a big change it is to be back here. In a few hours I went from Germanyís largest city to a small community of artists. I just got back from a nice walk in the woods that surround us here and the air was fresh and the light was beautiful. The past few days I have seen the sun, something that didnít happen too much in Berlin and enjoyed sleeping in, something else I didnít get to do too much of.


Mmmm..chemicals.... © Damaso Reyes

I also got back into the darkroom today, getting a start on the more than forty rolls of film that I have shot over the previous few months. As you might know, processing is one of my least favorite parts of the photographic experience, it seems no matter how careful I am or if I wear gloves I always smell like developer. Loading sixteen rolls of film at a time, in the dark, can be pretty boring but I have a good music collection to help keep me entertained. The reward is of course seeing the film once it is done, trying to remember where and why I took certain shots and always being a bit surprised by the results. I still have another day or so in the lab before I am caught up and then of course I have to edit, then scan then edit some more before posting it all on the website. Fun, fun, fun!

So I think I am going to Paris for a few days next week, feel free to send me your suggestions on places to eat, things to see, etc. Itís my first time so I am very much looking forward to doing a lot of walking and hopefully shooting!

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Return to Solitude 
Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 15:55 - Travel
Stuttgart

So I arrived back in Solitude yesterday after a nice train ride from Berlin. Some of the faces have changed since July but the house remains as I left it, warm and inviting and I have already managed a short walk in the woods! I am very happy to be back in this environment after a busy two months in Berlin. I hope the next two months will be productive, if a bit slower. I am still debating whether or not to head over to Munich later this week to catch the end of Oktoberfest, let me know what you think I should do. Tomorrow I will head to the sauna for some much needed rest and relaxation!


Back to basics. © Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of the Week #4 
Saturday, September 29, 2007, 12:37 - Commentary
Berlin

Just two more days in the Hauptstadt! I will try to make the most of them and see a few galleries and museums, hopefully the weather will cooperate. Here is our latest quote of the week, enjoy!


Remains of the war, Kosovo 2005. © Damaso Reyes

ďAs photojournalists we supply information to a world that is overwhelmed with preoccupations and full of people who need the company of images....We pass judgment on what we see, and this involves an enormous responsibility,Ē Henri Cartier-Bresson, "American Photo", September/October 1997, page: 77

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