Goodbye, So Long... 
Thursday, November 29, 2007, 11:38 - Commentary

My time here at Solitude and in Germany is quickly drawing to a close. It is hard to believe that it has come and gone so soon. I remember boarding that plane in January with little idea of what to expect. Who could have imagined all of the interesting people I’ve met, all the friends I’ve made and all of the images that I have taken. For me this was “The Year of Yes” and it truly has been. I’ve accomplished so much it’s hard to believe sometimes but I am grateful to the staff and fellows here for all of their support.

Good times, good friends... © Damaso Reyes

Having the opportunity to live and work in this unique community of artists has given me much more than I can express in words; I hope that you can see it in my images. I have found a process which I think will continue to serve me for years to come. In terms of The Europeans, I feel this year has been extremely productive and I have a firm foundation on which to proceed in 2008. I leave here reluctantly but knowing that I am a better artist and that I have done as much as I can with the time I have been given.

I am very much looking forward to being in New York; seeing my friends and families and doing a bit of recharging. If 2008 is anywhere close to as good as 2007 then I will be a very lucky man indeed. I look forward to writing you from the other side of the Atlantic, until Saturday: Aufwiedersehen !!!

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Photography Jobs & Opportunies #1 
Monday, November 26, 2007, 13:40 - Commentary

Well it has been a busy weekend but I am almost done editing and I will be posting new images online later today! Of course I still have a bunch of film still left to process and scan but that’s life!

In other news I have decided that Saturdays should not get to have all the fun and in addition to my weekly HCB quote I will start posting photography related jobs and opportunities every Monday. I have been doing this regularly on but I figure why not do it here as well for those photographers who happen to visit my website. Good luck!

The Mayor of Stuttgart. © Damaso Reyes


Knight Fellowships at Stanford
Deadline for international applicants is: December 15, 2007

Eight international journalists win several Knight Fellowships at Stanford each year. The fellows get nine months of study, intellectual growth and professional change at one of the world’s great universities, right in the middle of Silicon Valley – in classes, independent study and research and special forums with academic and journalism leaders. At the end of the year they return to the rapidly changing journalism landscape with a renewed sense of purpose, deeper knowledge and tools to tackle the challenges ahead.

Fellows receive a stipend of $60,000 plus tuition, and supplements for health insurance, books, housing and childcare. All benefits and activities of the program are open to spouses and partners of Fellows. We’re looking for: – Reporters and editors and anchors – Photographers and producers and news directors – Editorial cartoonists and multimedia producers – and more We want journalists who have already accomplished a lot and are ambitious to do more. Candidates must have five years professional, full-time experience. To apply, go to: and complete the application form. Applications must be postmarked by December 15, 2007 to be considered for the 2008-2009 academic year. For more information, please visit: or email

The New Jersey Herald seeks Photojournalist

We’re preparing to expand our photography department for the third year in a row, and we’re seeking a journalism-minded photographer to help us capture life in Sussex County and uphold our high standards of photo reproduction.

There’s more to the position than simply shooting and toning photos. Our photojournalists are prized for their efficiency, versatility, and attention to accuracy. That work ethic is rewarded with interesting assignments, a generous newshole, abundant color positions, and the opportunity to explore individual projects and create photo essays.

The Herald provides a Canon Mark 2 and lenses, as well as a company vehicle for most assignments.

The New Jersey Herald is part of a privately held media company that has owned the newspaper for almost 40 years and just invested nearly $1 million in renovating the building and upgrading the newsroom computer system. Located in northwest New Jersey, The Herald has the Delaware Water Gap and the Appalachian Trail in the county and New York City entertainment an hour away.
We offer a competitive salary, medical, dental, and life insurance, profit-sharing and 401k plans, tuition reimbursement, and other benefits.

To apply, please e-mail a resume, references, and samples of your work to Anna Murphey, chief photographer, The New Jersey Herald, 2 Spring Street, Newton, N.J. 07860. Please indicate if you need your samples returned.

You may also e-mail your application to, but please send your photos as screen-quality attachments, not links.


Photographic Center Northwest seeking an Executive Director

The Photographic Center Northwest is a dynamic organization eager to offer ever-improving learning opportunities to a growing community of members. We are seeking an Executive Director who can lead us in the fulfillment of this mission.
PCNW Board Executive Director Search Committee Photographic Center Northwest
900 12th Av E Seattle WA 98122
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HCB Quote of the Week #12 
Saturday, November 24, 2007, 09:36 - Commentary

This time next week I will be back in New York, can you believe it? Of course I have more work than time but it will all be okay, even if I don’t finish everything I want to do. I am almost done with this batch of images, which feels good. Hopefully I will at least process, if not scan the rest of the film I shot this year. We shall see. As always, here is your HCB Quote of the Week, this time accompanied by a new photo. Enjoy!

Babylon System. © Damaso Reyes

As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's own originality. It is a way of life.
-Henri Cartier-Bresson

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The One Percent Doctrine 
Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 13:13 - Project News, Commentary

It’s true, I hate editing.

Now you might wonder why, after all, this is the real first chance that I get to sit and look at my new images. Editing also takes a lot less time than scanning and is at least more interesting. So why do I hate it so much?

I blame the one percent rule.

More on that in a moment. The first reason is that when you look at a rough scan, or a rough print for that matter, you are basically looking at a naked photograph. No adjustments, contrast all out of whack and it doesn’t help that the editing program I use tends to make all my black and white images look super grainy. So even if I am looking at a good image they all too often look like some of our better known celebrities when they go to the store for some milk without makeup: ugly.

Of course I know all this but the one percent rule makes it damn hard to remember. The one percent rule is basically my own rough editing guide that I have developed over the years. It states that only about one percent of all the images that I shoot end up being really good and what I would consider usable. What does this mean? Well let’s do some simple math.

Say I go out on a shoot and take about 12 rolls of film, not uncommon for a day or two of shooting. Now each roll of film has 36 images so multiply that times 12.

12 rolls x 36 exposures = 432 images

Now when I process my film and then look at it on the light table I usually end up selecting roughly ten to fifteen percent of these images to scan, or if I have a darkroom to make test prints from to see how they look when they are enlarged. That equals about 45 images.

Now once I get them into the computer or for that matter have the test prints made, only about 10% of these images will have any interest for me. Often when an image is enlarged you see some small flaw or it turns out the photo just wasn’t as interesting as I thought it was.

So from the initial 432 images I would select 4-6 as being up to my own standards, roughly one percent.

This is the good photo. Berlin summer 2007. © Damaso Reyes

Let’s have a rare glimpse into my editing process! Here you can see that I scanned four frames of the same scene before deciding on this fifth frame as the one I liked the best. Of course there are several other images of this scene that I didn’t scan but this example gives you an idea of what I go through to deliver what you see on the screen.

Nope, not this one. © Damaso Reyes

Not this one either. © Damaso Reyes

Are you kidding me? © Damaso Reyes

Close but no cigar! © Damaso Reyes

Of course our friend Henri Cartier-Bresson once said that you need a lot of milk to make a little cream. Truer words have never been spoken!

Now I just got through editing nearly 700 “selects” from over sixty rolls of film. The vast majority of these images are crap and when you look at one bad image after another it does something to your pride. I am constantly seeing my mistakes, which of course is a very good thing since I can apply it to the next shoot but unlike shooting digital where you can instantly see if there is a problem, there are no “do overs” in film. Which makes it more challenging and more frustrating.

So this is what I did yesterday and today: wade through the crap to find the pearls. Now of course I have to tidy them up in Photoshop and put them online, which will take another few days.

And people ask me why I dislike post-production…

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HCB Quote of the Week #11 
Saturday, November 17, 2007, 14:02 - Commentary

Another week, another quote by HCB. Only 14 days until I land back in New York. Too much to do, too little time…

© Damaso Reyes

Thinking should be done before and after, not during photographing. Success depends on the extent of one's general culture, one's set of values, one's clarity of mind one's vivacity. The thing to be feared most is the artificially contrived, the contrary to life.
-Henri Cartier-Bresson

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HCB Quote of the Week #10 
Saturday, November 10, 2007, 16:07 - Commentary

I know it seems like forever but here is your HCB Quote of the Week. Take it in…

Summer in Amsterdam. © Damaso Reyes

Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. -Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Friday, November 9, 2007, 11:52 - Shooting, Commentary

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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HCB Quote of the Week #9 
Saturday, November 3, 2007, 14:06 - Commentary

My last month at Solitude has arrived, can you believe it? As I sit back and contemplate things, here is your HCB Quote of the Week…

© Damaso Reyes

I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us.
-Henri Cartier-Bresson

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

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 hadn’t noticed (don’t worry I didn’t 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 “treaty” 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 sheep’s 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 don’t have a real role in shaping it or its decisions.

This latest stunt will do little to reassure the Euroskeptics

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

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

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. That’s why I have to change things from dollars to Euros on my contributions page, but don’t 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, don’t 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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HCB Quote of the Week #7 
Saturday, October 20, 2007, 13:52 - Commentary

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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HCB Quote of Week #6 
Saturday, October 13, 2007, 14:02 - Commentary

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

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,” page 27

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

It’s hard not to emphasize what a big change it is to be back here. In a few hours I went from Germany’s 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 didn’t happen too much in Berlin and enjoyed sleeping in, something else I didn’t 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. It’s my first time so I am very much looking forward to doing a lot of walking and hopefully shooting!

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