Party Time 
Wednesday, February 14, 2007, 18:01 - Events
Stuttgart

Another monthly dinner and fun was had by all, though speaking just for myself there was a little too much wine consumed, which I felt this morning when I woke up just after eight to go photograph at the State Parliament, but thatís another story. Here are some photosÖ.enjoy!


Ligia. ©Damaso Reyes


Narges. ©Damaso Reyes


Sanford. ©Damaso Reyes


©Damaso Reyes
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Iraq Then and Now 
Tuesday, February 13, 2007, 19:36 - Commentary
Stuttgart

When I visited Iraq in 2000 I thought that there was little else that my country to could to make the situation there more intolerable for the people whom we wished to ďliberate.Ē


An Iraqi hospital in 2000. ©Damaso Reyes

Clearly, I was wrong.

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Anna Nicole 
Friday, February 9, 2007, 08:04 - Commentary
Stuttgart

Anna Nicole Smith is dead.


Anna at Live 8 in 2005. ©Damaso Reyes


©Damaso Reyes


©Damaso Reyes

Hereís a link to a blog that I wrote about her in 2005. Let me know what you thinkÖ

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One down... 
Wednesday, February 7, 2007, 17:44 - Shooting, Personal, Commentary
Stuttgart

One month down, five to go!

Time is a tricky thing, something it goes by at warp speed, usually when Iím doing something fun like eating ice cream or nude karaoke; at other times it drags on, most notably when I am loading one of the 16 rolls of films that I have been regularly processing. In truth while I feel totally settled in and I have shot upwards of 40 rolls so far I donít feel like I have already been here a month, I suppose it is a testament to how quickly I have gotten used to adapting to new circumstances. In reality I think it is simply that I very quickly got into a routine and have been working it like a rented mule.

Yesterday I shot the opening session of the year for the State Parliament, which is just as exciting as it sounds, except that it is in German. As a politics junkie I find European parliamentary democracy fascinating and not just for the fact that politicians commonly boo and hiss one another. I hope to spend more time there next week as I continue my foray into the depths of the German political system with its direct and proportional representation. Admit it, Iím making you a little hot under the collar arenít I?

Academy Schloss Solitude certainly lives up to its name. On most nights during a walk around this building you will only encounters the shot hum of electronics and the darkness of unlit hallways. Most fellows seem content to spend a good deal of their time working in their studios. I tend to wander a bit, down to the darkroom, into town, I like this whole fresh air and people concept, well the fresh air part, and only if itís not too cold, but anyway I feel like I have been seeing less and less of people but about one a week there seems to be some kind of spontaneous gather involving food and wine and of course cigarettes, much to my dismay.

Stuttgart is a nice town, of course the logistics of the bus makes accessing the nightlife an all or nothing proposition, no drunken subway rides home at 2:45 here. I like the town and by and large the people are friendly and patient with this non-German speaking foreigner here to take their jobs, women and drink their beer.

So far I have shot at a professional football match, a hip-hop nightclub, three times at the State Parliament, in the forest for some reason, in a field full of smelly sheep, at a party in Munich, and probably some other places my bad memory is getting in the way of. Lucky I got it on film!

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Memory... 
Tuesday, February 6, 2007, 12:22 - Personal
Stuttgart

I have a bad memory.

That comes as no shock to those of you who know me, after all I often joke that the reason why I take pictures is to remember what it is that Iíve seen.

More seriously, I have a hard time remembering the names of people Iíve just met; I often have to check my watch two or three times before I know what time it is; sometimes I forget to email people back.

But it is deeper than knowing the time or some strangerís name; for me memory is this fleeting part of myself that I canít seem to master. In summer I forget the misery of a stiff wind that blows through you; in winter I canít recall a humid dayís intimate embrace. When Iím alone I have a hard time recalling just how it feels to hold a woman that I love; when Iím with good friends I have a hard to imagining the depths of solitude that has been my near constant companion for as long as I can remember.


Christine, Bali 2003. ©Damaso Reyes

The only upside I find is that I am constantly experiencing the old as new again. Each spring I long for that first day, usually sometime in April or May when I can finally feel again what it is like to walk without the fear of a sudden chill, to have the sunshine tell me just how much it loves me after such a long separation.

Moreover for me photographs are more like invented memories. For this professional the paradox is that when I photograph something I rarely experience it, often I must go back and imagine again what that event was like.

Perhaps I am lucky since I cannot be accused of living in the past. At the same time I wish those lovely and intense feelings would linger a little longer instead of being lost to time.

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What the Duck 
Saturday, February 3, 2007, 14:17 - Commentary
Stuttgart

So I came across this comic strip a while back and thought I would share it with you. Itís a pretty accurate portrait of life as a photographer.



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Lectures... 
Friday, February 2, 2007, 14:56 - Events
Stuttgart

So for the past two days there has been a symposium here entitled ďWhen is a work of art dead?Ē Since it has been all in German up until tonight, I have just been taking the occasional photo, but tonight there is a lecture in English. There is talk of going out afterwards but Iím not sure if I will go out, I kinda want to save my energy for the darkroom tomorrow, but we shall seeÖ.


Exciting, isn't it? ©Damaso Reyes
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Workin' hard.... 
Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 20:48 - Shooting, Personal
Stuttgart

Okay, I donít want everyone getting the wrong idea and thinking that this trip is nothing but trips to the mineral bath and beer hall. Sure, those places are playing a crucial role, but I do actually do work from time to time, I just donít like to always bore you with all the details.

So one of the reasons why I have 40 odd rolls waiting to be processed is that the film drying cabinet that they have here is, well letís just say, inadequate. So when my request to ďmodifyĒ it were turned down (whatís the big deal about cutting a hole in the bottom and making it a little taller?), I decided to build my own. With the help of the long-suffering Mr. Ludwig, we set upon the wood shop yesterday and created a mammoth yet stylish film drying cabinet.

It took all day, with the occasional tea break of course.

After a short break it was off to Daimler Stadium to photograph at my first professional football (soccer for you American barbarians) game. It was a bit chilly out but I had a great time photographing the game and the fans.


Damaso at the game...©Damaso Reyes

So see, I do actually work from time to time. Donít worry, things are ramping up, I predict a great deal of film will be processed this weekend and next week is all about setting up shoots for the rest of the month.

And yes, there will be a trip to another mineral bathÖ


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Bad Boy 
Monday, January 29, 2007, 16:55 - Personal
Stuttgart

So after playing in the snow I decided to visit one of the many mineral baths here in Stuttgart. I took the train to Mineralbad Leuze with itís warm and cool pools full of mineral rich water. Having learned to schvitz at the Tenth Street Baths in NYC, I was looking forward to beginning my world sauna tour here in Germany. I was not disappointed.



The huge size of the place was a little disorientating, especially since I couldnít get any of my prudish and lazy other fellows to join me and the fact that I canít see more than three feet in front of my face without my glasses didnít make things any easier. But slowly I found my way and eventually made it to the sauna section, where they have something like 8 or 9 different rooms ranging from a soft sauna at 40įC to a huge log cabin type room where the heat reaches well in excess of 100įC or 212įF or the boiling point of water.

Apparently lighting is an important part of the experience here and several of the rooms and colored lights including one room where the lights slowly shifted form one color to another, which sort of made me feel like I was in a spaceship sauna. After three hours I left refreshed and ready for more. Next week I think I will try a different place, stay tunedÖ

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Another Day, Another Snowfall 
Sunday, January 28, 2007, 21:42 - Personal
Stuttgart

Another day, more snow! After a winter of dry weather winter has come to Stuttgart with a vengeance.


Rolling uphill, like true artists!


More sledding, more fun! Photo by Ligia Nobre.


Me and my buddy. Photo by Ligia Nobre.
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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.

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Zen and the Art of Waiting 
Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 02:24 - Shooting, Commentary
Stuttgart

Some people think of photography as an action packed adventure but those of us who actually take the photographs know that it is all about waiting. And then waiting some more. And then a little more after that.

Sometimes itís about waiting for the right moment, other times itís about waiting for someone to get back to you about a shoot. Still other times itís about waiting for the bus to take you to the shoot, or waiting for your subject to show up. At the end of the day we often spend more time waiting than taking pictures.

Today I spent the afternoon taking pictures at the state parliament, which mostly entailed waiting. I had tentatively arranged to shoot there through one of the members but as Tuesday grew closer I still had not heard back. When I called her office her assistant said that she was indeed in but in a meeting, the very meeting that I wanted to come and photograph as it turned out.

So I had a choice: sit and wait to hear back or just show up. In true Damaso fashion I chose the later. The security guard didnít know what to do with me when I arrived but after a few phone calls I was let in and directed to the SPD party floor where I wandered a bit aimlessly, my two contacts not being in their office but, you guessed it, in the meeting. I finally found someone nice enough to let the two members know that I was there. He asked me to wait.

So I had some tea and caught up with the battle of Arnhem.

And I waited.

After a while one of the members who I knew came out. I asked if I could come inside and photograph. The real selling point was the fact that I wouldnít understand a word they were saying. I find not being able to speak the language of the country I am in as helpful as it can be annoying sometimes. He said he would ask the other members inside.

And then he asked me to wait.

So I had some more tea and kept reading. And reading. And reading.

Finally he emerged and said it would be no problem for me to shoot.

So I spent the next ninety minutes photographing the meeting and later one of the members as he went over a draft of the budget with an assistant. I spent just about the same amount of time waiting to take pictures as I did actually photographing. While this isnít always the case I find that it is not all that unusual either.

If you want excitement, become a racecar driver.

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January Dinner 
Sunday, January 21, 2007, 21:51 - Events
Stuttgart

So yesterday was the monthly fellowís dinner here at Schloss Solitude. It is one of the few chances we get to all come together on a regular basis and share a meal. It was a great chance to meet some of the more reclusive fellows and share a couple (read dozen) bottles of wine. Fun was had by all. See the photos here.


©Damaso Reyes
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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

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First Week, First Impressions 
Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 01:40 - Personal
Stuttgart

Hard to believe that I have been here for a whole week, isnít it? For all the anxiety that I experience before a big move like the one I have just taken it always amazes me how easily I manage to adapt to wherever I land. Of course it helps that I have done this before, most notably when I went to Indonesia on a one way ticket with $400 in my pocket. It also helps that I have landed in such a supportive environment from the beautiful studio that I live in rent free to the knowledgeable staff who are already working with me to secure some shoots. All in all it has been a pretty smooth transition.

I was a little dumbfounded when I first walked into my studio. I mean I always joked that I would be living in a castle but I really had no idea what to expect. I had a talk with Mr. Joly, the director of Solitude today and he basically said that I didnít have to do anything, that nothing was expected of me and that they wouldnít bother me in my ďprivate space.Ē Pretty liberating, isnít it? Of course having looked forward to being here for so long I will try to work as hard as I can. Since arriving I have been forced to shift gears a bit. Every time I come to Europe, or more accurately every time I leave NYC, I am forced to remember that not everyone in the world works at the manic pace that we do. It will all come together, but it will take time, which is okay since I am here for six months.

I have made a few friends in the other fellows. Amazingly enough I am living across the hall from a fellow who lives in Harlem, small world, no? It is very quiet here and the place seems to encourage the fellows to lead their own lives, which is fine but it can be a little isolating. I have managed to get down into town several times. I am looking forward to actually meeting more Germans and immersing myself in the culture. And there is a weekly German class which I think I will try to get in on. So all in all week one has gone pretty well. Stay tuned for moreÖ
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