HCB Quote of the Week #29 
Saturday, March 22, 2008, 16:52 - Shooting, Commentary
Stuttgart


Expanding the frontiers of knowledge. © Damaso Reyes

Sorry for the long absence, I have spent a few days this week photographing once again at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. This time around I spent some time in several different departments including the Division of Medical Physics in Radiation Oncology, Division of Molecular Genetics and the High Resolution Optical Microscopy Research Group. Slowly but surely I am chipping away at the role of science and research in transforming Europe! Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure!


The Optical Microscopy group uses lasers to visualize the smallest parts of cells. © Damaso Reyes


Watch out! © Damaso Reyes


Different colors = different wavelengths of light and resolutions. © Damaso Reyes


Only the light of a computer monitor guides the scientists as they perform their experiments. © Damaso Reyes


A patient prepares to receive radiation therapy. © Damaso Reyes


A radiation treatment session is observed using television cameras. © Damaso Reyes


Fine German engineering at work. © Damaso Reyes


A nurse assists a patient after he receives his treatment. © Damaso Reyes


The machine shop creates many of the tools used by the radiology department. © Damaso Reyes


Boys will be boys. © Damaso Reyes

Next Friday I will leave all this behind for a few weeks and travel back to New York for some rest and relaxation. But fear not, I am plotting my return to Europe in mid-May so stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, enjoy your HCB Quote of the Week!


A lab assistant prepares genetic samples for analysis. © Damaso Reyes


Even a lab bench is a personal space. © Damaso Reyes


Just like mine at home. © Damaso Reyes

And no photographs taken with the aid of flash light, either, if only out of respect for the actual light - even when there isn't any of it. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Goodbye Vienna 
Thursday, February 28, 2008, 09:30 - Travel, Shooting, Commentary
Vienna

It is my last day here in Wien and I am already missing it! Well I still have a few more hours but the weather has been spectacular during the past week and I have really been very productive, so much so that I still have to do some packing. But don’t worry, I will get it all done in time. I really hope I have a chance to come back soon to continue the work I started here. Time, as always, will tell.

In the meantime here are some images of asylum seeker, teacher and university graduate Alisa and her three daughters. She came here almost ten years ago from Chechnya and has been trying to make a life for herself, against all odds, ever since.

“I wish that just once I could feel like a human being.”



A strong woman.© Damaso Reyes


Still happy. © Damaso Reyes


A hidden truth. © Damaso Reyes


Edges. © Damaso Reyes


Living history. © Damaso Reyes
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Ute Bock Center 
Thursday, February 14, 2008, 16:18 - Shooting
Vienna

So every day this week I’ve been taking the train to the Ute Bock Center. It is a place where people seeking asylum can come for counseling, legal advice and even housing. The small staff there does wonders with the few resources they have available and they have opened their doors and allowed me to photograph at the center.


Everyone is a foreigner somewhere...

The first day I have to say I was pretty overwhelmed. Many of the asylum seekers come to the center because they are having a problem which can range from an upcoming legal procedure to being threatened with arrest or deportation. They often have to wait for hours before they can see someone and the sense of frustration with the asylum system is palpable.


Waiting...

I haven’t made too many photographs yet, much of the past few days has been about observing and getting comfortable but the more time I spend there the more I see and begin to understand. For the next two weeks I will probably work on this project exclusively, I hope I can do justice to the stories I encounter.


Karin, a staff member. © Damaso Reyes


Frau Bock herself. © Damaso Reyes


Looking for answers... © Damaso Reyes


Waiting for mail. © Damaso Reyes


Thinking. © Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of the Week #22 
Saturday, February 2, 2008, 15:36 - Shooting, Commentary
Vienna

Another week, another ball! I know, it’s tough going from one formal ball to another but hey, I made a commitment to document the changing face of Europe! On Thursday I went to the TU Ball, which was conveniently located about five minutes from my door. It was a little more traditional than the Regenbogen Ball (I even had to buy a bow tie) but it was still fun. The Fulbright Commission got a table and we all went to a fun evening of dancing and music. The ball was held at the Hofburg, and it was lavish to say the least.


The name is Reyes, Damaso Reyes

Often while working on this project I feel like an anthropologist but instead of hacking through the jungles of New Guinea I get to don a jacket and tie and hunt the elusive Wiener. It is fun getting a chance to visit these other worlds. I suppose that is what I like most about the camera: it acts as a passport allowing me to enter places and see things that I would otherwise not be able to. With that, here is you HCB Quote of the Week and some photos. Enjoy!

One has to tiptoe lightly and steal up to one's quarry; you don't swish the water when you are fishing. - Henri Cartier-Bresson


Everybody dance now. © Damaso Reyes


One step forward... © Damaso Reyes


On the sunny side of the street. © Damaso Reyes


Folk music. © Damaso Reyes


Dancing cheek to cheek. © Damaso Reyes


Eye contact. © Damaso Reyes
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HCB Quote of the Week #21 
Sunday, January 27, 2008, 01:28 - Shooting, Commentary
Vienna

Well I have indeed been a busy little bee! In addition to shooting again at the Vienna City Council it is ball season here in Austria. So I have been doing my waltzing lessons and trying to find some dress clothes. Today I attended my very first ball which was the Regenbogen Ball (Rainbow Ball) which is the largest gay and lesbian ball here in Vienna.


Absolutely Fabulous! © Damaso Reyes

Well my goal was to show how diverse this city is and I feel like I have made a good start. The evening was full of elegant men and women of all orientations dancing and celebrating life. While I am not overwhelmed by the results of my digital photographs I have much higher hopes for the black and white. In all honesty I haven’t been shooting much digitally (just for you and I hope you appreciate it!) because well I don’t have to. Sometimes I just take my two Leicas out when I shoot but I thought you might enjoy a quick snapshot of the night. So after your HCB Quote of the Week enjoy some more photographs of Viennese politics and my first ball!

The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson , Photography Year 1980, LIFE Library of Photography , Page: 22


Private Discussions. © Damaso Reyes


Dancing Cheek to Cheek


Working in the Shadows. © Damaso Reyes


Swirls. © Damaso Reyes


Stand and Deliver.


Grand Entrance. © Damaso Reyes


As I was Saying... © Damaso Reyes


Whispers. © Damaso Reyes


A Little Light Reading. © Damaso Reyes


Applause. © Damaso Reyes

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Fresh Direct 
Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 14:54 - Shooting, Commentary
Vienna


Politics Time! © Damaso Reyes


In the Halls... © Damaso Reyes

I spent the morning taking photographs at the Vienna City Council (special thanks to Green Party member Marco Schreuder for arranging the visit). Housed in a beautiful 19th century gothic building the City Hall is the nicest municipal building I have been in. The city council, which also serves as the state parliament since Vienna is a city and state, is also remarkably open. Unlike other parliaments or city halls, including New York’s, I didn’t have to be searched nor put my bag through an x-ray machine. It was only when I was actually photographing in the chamber itself did the occasional inquisitive public servant ask to see my credentials.


Overwatch. © Damaso Reyes


In the Shadows. © Damaso Reyes

As usual people were surprised to hear that I was from New York and found it strange that anyone from there would be interested in the Vienna City Council. It’s funny but almost no matter where I go in Europe, or for that matter the world, people are surprised that I would leave New York to come and photograph wherever I happen to be. I guess it must be the effect of all those movies and television shows that are shot in New York (Vienna has The Third Man but can you think of any other famous movies shot here?) which have made the city seem like the place to be. Granted I love New York but there is a big world out there and all of it is interesting it its own way.


Waiting His Turn. © Damaso Reyes


The Conversation. © Damaso Reyes

The only problem I had this morning was that since the council president was a bit of a stickler for protocol I was only allowed to shoot for a half hour during the question hour. As you know I hate working under pressure but all of those years of shooting press conferences and on deadline have at least come in handy. I wandered around the room, photographing the representatives as well as their aides and those supplicants who vie for a moment of their time.


Behind the Scenes. © Damaso Reyes

The more time I spend photographing in the halls of government the more that I realize that the real governing doesn’t happen during the question time or the vigorous back and forth debates that are shown on television or quoted in the newspapers. They happen off to the side, out of the view of the cameras (except for mine!) and the reporters. This is a little bit of what I want to show. Some would say that this is the problem with much of modern government. The U.K.’s parliament is expected to ratify the Lisbon treaty and the fact that the public will likely not get a chance to vote on what will more or less become the E.U. Constitution has sparked a great deal of outrage in that country.

Tomorrow I will return and I hope to spend most of the day photographing various members as they go about their day and give you a little bit of an impression of what political life here is like. Stay tuned…

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Distractions... 
Friday, November 9, 2007, 11:52 - Shooting, Commentary
Stuttgart

One of the issues I struggle with the most is post production. It is so much fun to be out in the field, shooting roll after roll, enjoying the world around me that I rarely spend as much time as I should in the darkroom processing that same film or in front of the computer scanning and editing. So this week as supposed to be all about catching up on some much needed post production but alas, I have failed. I did manage to process the film from my trip to Hameln as well as some rolls from Paris. I even went through all 48 rolls of my processed film and edited them down to what I would like to scan, but after that things kind of stalled.

Sure the late night drinking and discussions with the other fellows in the house didn’t help, but I just have a hard time motivating myself to do repetitive work like scanning. Once I start I am okay with it but getting the motivation to begin in the first place is very difficult for me. So next week, I promise I will start scanning, editing and posting new work online!


Missed Connection. © Damaso Reyes

It didn’t help that I had a bit of a distraction the past two days: the sheep have returned! As you might remember this spring I met a local shepherd who was grazing his flock on the grounds of Solitude. Well I shot a roll or so and was all set to spend a day with him when our plans fell through. I did get at least one memorable image but I longed for more.


Traffic Jam. © Damaso Reyes

Two days ago I passed one of the other fellows in the hall who asked me “Have you seen the sheep?” I looked outside and lo and behold the sheep, and shepherd were back! I vowed not to miss my chance again and went out to do some more shooting and I ended up talking with Reinhold, who is a very nice guy by the way. Yesterday on my way back from the supermarket he was here again and motioned me to come over. In German he asked if I had some time today. Thinking about how little I actually wanted to sit in front of the computer I said yes. He told me that he would be taking his flock home in a little while and if I wanted to walk with him I was welcome. I had mentioned to him that I was interested in buying a sheepskin so I was eager to get the goods. Half an hour later we were walking down the road, blocking traffic with me as assistant shepherd bringing up the rear and making sure none of the baby lambs, one of which was just two days old, got lost.



Into the Woods. © Damaso Reyes

It was a lot of fun, playing shepherd and getting to see a little more of the countryside. We wound our way through the woods and a small town, everyone amazed to see so many sheep walking by. One of the things I have enjoyed about my time here is the chance to take a more in-depth approach and for me the shepherd is just one example. After spending most of the year here I have come to realize that this is the way that I want to work: at my own pace and on the topics that interest me. Now of course I have to figure out a way to pay for it all!


Our Friend Reinhold. © Damaso Reyes
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DKFZ 
Monday, November 5, 2007, 11:36 - Shooting
Stuttgart

So last week I returned to the German Cancer Research Center to photograph in the lab of Dr. Frank Rösl. It was a very interesting visit and all of the researchers and students welcomed me, even if they thought it was strange that I would come to photograph them doing what they think of as mundane tasks. Over and over again I was asked why I had come and I suppose you want to know that as well.


Hard Science. © Damaso Reyes

Well much like a scientist I suppose I am collecting data for a long term study of How Europe is changing. Still, you ask, how does this trip exemplify these so-called changes? Well first I would like to point out that change is often very subtle and not every shoot, let alone every photograph, is going to explicitly talk about this grand theme. Part of the goal of the project is also to photograph things as they are now so that when change does occur we have a reference point.


Looking for Gold. © Damaso Reyes


Results. © Damaso Reyes

But the Cancer Center is a great example of change itself, having grown more than tenfold in the last twenty years. More importantly is how international the researchers are coming not just from different parts of Germany, including the former East, but throughout Europe and the world. I had lunch with two Columbians and in the lab I visited there were a multitude of nationalities. Europe is becoming increasingly diverse and science is at the forefront of this trend.


The Queen. © Damaso Reyes


Knowledge=Freedom.© Damaso Reyes

What do you think of when you imagine what a German research lab must be like? Bearded men in long white coats nodding seriously perhaps? Well the long white coats are still there but the lab was filled with young people, the average age must have been well under thirty. As well there were many more young women than I expected.


Face of the Future. © Damaso Reyes

Given how much energy has been spent trying to get young girls interested in the natural sciences it seems like the work has begun to pay off. There were lots of smiles and joking around even as they conducted their experiments. Pop music played in the background as results were studied. The atmosphere was focused but relaxed and the communications between colleagues was cordial and open. While serious science was being conducted people were having, of all things, fun. Scientists even have a sense of humor.


© Damaso Reyes


E.coli, our servant. © Damaso Reyes

Can you believe it?


A Little Note. © Damaso Reyes


Daydreaming. © Damaso Reyes


Cleanliness is next to... © Damaso Reyes
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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 Rösl, 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: “One 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.”


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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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 night’s 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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Geiger College 
Tuesday, September 25, 2007, 15:49 - Shooting
Berlin

Yesterday I went back to Abraham Geiger College, the only Rabbinical School in German and met with Adrian Michael Schell, who is training to be a rabbi there. Last year the school graduated its first class of rabbis, something very special considering Germany’s history. After reading about it last year I thought that it would be interesting to do a story on it and over the past few weeks I met with the rector of the College as well as a few students including Adrian.


Adrian. © Damaso Reyes

The face of Judaism in Germany since the Holocaust is a very interesting and I am looking forward to learning more about it. But since the fall of the Soviet Union, a large number of Russian Jews have come to German, changing the demographics of Judaism here while at the same time growing the community. Adrian is a convert himself, someone who came to the religion after research and intense soul searching. Next month he will deliver a sermon for the first time and I will hopefully join him and document it. Stay tuned for more developments…

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Hamburger Heaven 
Sunday, August 19, 2007, 18:21 - Travel, Shooting
Hamburg

On my way back to Berlin now after a fun filled weekend in Hamburg! First I went to the Kunsthalle where I saw lots of interesting art including an exhibition about how the sea is represented in art, a very appropriate subject for this harbor town.


Art is Light! © Damaso Reyes


A Green Moment. © Damaso Reyes

Using that as inspiration I managed to spend a little time by the shore, something I miss in Berlin, which only has the Spree river to keep me company. While wandering with a friend I heard the lyrics to a song floating down from a restaurant. “Walk in the door,” the singer said. We looked at each other and decided the best thing to do was to listen to Fate and we walked in the door.


Kuno: Waiter, Bartender, Pop Star. © Damaso Reyes


The Blind See All. © Damaso Reyes

For some reason whenever I am in Hamburg I manage to go to the strangest bars and this one was no exception. Just as we arrived the band, such as it was, took a break and the man behind the bar took the microphone in hand and started singing old German Beer Hall songs. His style was rough but enthusiastic, as if doing the same thing fro decades had not dimmed him in the least. I had no idea that I had stumbled upon Kuno, the singer waiter.


Kuno has the Last word. © Damaso Reyes

Of course he is more than a waiter; he is also the owner of Zum Elbblick, located at Olbersweg 49 in case you are ever in town. When gently pressed he produced all kinds of press clipping including a DVD of a news show in which he was featured (no I haven’t watched it yet but stay tuned). He even had a CD, which of course he wasn’t giving away for free. I don’t know if it was his sandpaper voice or the blind accordion player who accompanied him but I thoroughly enjoyed my time and my reasonably priced beer!


Freedom is just another word. © Damaso Reyes


Relaxing by the Harbor... © Damaso Reyes


...Watching the ships go by.© Damaso Reyes

Yesterday I managed a quick trip to a flea market (as usual I couldn’t drag myself out of bed before noon!) as well as a trip to the St. Pauli Beach Bar. Apparently these “beach” bars have become all the rage in Europe these past few years. The idea is simple: just truck in some sand, set up a few palm trees and charge a little extra for the beer. Given the generally terrible weather this summer I don’t see how they stay in business but Saturday the sun managed to come out for a while and it was nice to have sand between my toes.

All the while of course the Leica was out and about, clicking away, and I think I got some very nice photos. All in all a good weekend!


Sunset. © Damaso Reyes
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Opposite Ends 
Monday, August 13, 2007, 14:31 - Shooting
Berlin

It’s raining outside. Again.

I’m not trying to make a big deal about this but I had to wear a jacket yesterday. In August. Does that seem wrong to people? In New York it is hot and steamy and here it is cool and wet. I guess the grass is always greener….

I suppose the three people who are reading this blog want to know what I have been up to. Well, yesterday I spent most of the day shooting at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Warning: Not Safe for Work images below!


Tourists. © Damaso Reyes

Here are some images from the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall that I took for Christine, another Burns fellow to whom I suggested a story on the deterioration of the wall and people’s efforts to renovate it. The wall is slowly crumbling because of exposure to the elements and to tourists who can’t seem to resist the urge to chip a few pieces away. If something isn’t done soon it seems like there won’t be much of the wall left for future generations.


Another chip in the Wall.© Damaso Reyes


Hole in the Wall. © Damaso Reyes

Earlier in the day I spent a few hours shooting nudes. I know, what is a photojournalist doing making “arty” pictures? Well I do indeed consider myself an artist and a photojournalist. In addition I am of the firm belief that as an artist, and even a journalist, it is important to stretch one’s creative muscles, taking the same kinds of photos and working on the same kinds of stories not only leads to boredom but to inflexibility.


Up against the Wall. © Damaso Reyes


Peace. © Damaso Reyes

Since college I have worked on a nudes series. Because it is not what I normally do I have been rather hesitant about the whole affair feeling that unless I could bring something new to it why bother at all. Recently I decided that it was more important to try something new than to try to break new ground, especially since I am not really planning on sharing these images, they are more for my own personal growth. But I thought it might be interesting for you guys. Feel free to make suggestions and let me know if you want to pose, finding models is the hard part!


Torso.© Damaso Reyes


Chin. © Damaso Reyes

This week I hope to continue the street photography I started doing last week. Nothing special; just carrying the camera around and shooting. Berlin is an incredibly interesting city to photograph in and I am looking forward to shooting as much as I can here.


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Then We Take Berlin! 
Thursday, August 2, 2007, 15:54 - Shooting
Berlin

The process of settling into any new digs is completed for me once I have done laundry and gone to the supermarket, both of which I did today. While most people love apartments with lots of light, the fact that my room has two big windows and no draperies was not something I was happy about at five o’clock in the morning when the sun began his journey through the sky on Apollo’s chariot. So I was up and up early and I did some reading, web surfing and eventually made my way to the market where I loaded up on way too much food, a relic of my days at Solitude when the market was 40 minutes away by bus instead of a ten minute walk as it is now.

The sun has decided to come out today and I managed to make my way without a jacket, a novel idea for August I admit but one I was fully dedicated to exploring. After a homemade lunch of exciting pasta, I made my way across the Spree and visited American artist David Krepfle, who has been living here in Berlin for the past year and makes some very interesting art.


Portrait of the Artist as a young man. © Damaso Reyes

I thought he would be a great profile subject so I went over with camera and notebook in hand and after a few preliminary beers we talked about his life and art. Hopefully you can read all about it in Vanity Fair Germany if they are suitably impressed by my industriousness and decided to run the story. Otherwise I will post it here but in the meantime here are some photos…


A few pieces of the puzzle. © Damaso Reyes


Hard at work. © Damaso Reyes


More and More. © Damaso Reyes


The hands always tell. © Damaso Reyes

I am looking forward to starting “work” tomorrow, whatever that will entail. It will be nice to be in an office; of course I am sure that is just when the great weather will start here. At the same time I am sure they will understand how important it is for a good journalist to be out in the field so let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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Life is one big party.... 
Sunday, June 24, 2007, 14:33 - Shooting
Stuttgart

Friday and Saturday I went to the Württembergischer Kunstverein where Dr. Cornelia Lund and Dr. Holger Lund of Fluctuating Images gallery here in Stuttgart were curating a series of events exploring the relationship between parties and art. On these two days they invited DJs as well as multimedia artists to come and put on a show, here are a few images from the two nights…


Intensity... © Damaso Reyes


Shadows... © Damaso Reyes

Otherwise things have been pretty quiet. I am processing the 40 odd rolls of film that have accumulated in my studio over the past few weeks as well as trying to enjoy what is left of my time here at Solitude. In August I will start my two month Burns Fellowship where I will be working at Vanity Fair Germany in Berlin. I am very much looking forward to spending a few months in Germany’s capital city and I hope I have a chance to do some travelling while working on stories.




Dancing Queen... © Damaso Reyes

It has been a productive 5 ½ months here and I feel that the project is on very firm footing. Of course looking at the images I have produced thus far reminds me of how much further I have left to go but at least I feel as though I am on the right path. In the meantime, I am looking forward to the 12 days I will spend back in NYC where I hope to eat as much good food and see as many of my friends as I can! The countdown has begun…










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