Junior Kimbrough – Holly Springs, Mississippi 1988
In the fall of 1988 and ’89, I made two trips to Arkansas and Mississippi with Robert Palmer, who was one of the country’s most respected writers and historians about the history of blues music. We were on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine, and because of Bob’s contacts we had important access to numerous musicians in the area.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko died on April 1, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Historically he was a Soviet era poet who transcended his time and place with powerful words. In 2004 I was on assignment in the Ukraine, and upon arriving in Kiev my first planned stop was to visit Babi Yar, a ravine located in the outskirts of the city where in September, 1941 was the site of massacres of over 33,000 Jews that took place over a two day period. It was now a tranquil forest surrounded by urban sprawl where memories of evil and sorrow lingered amongst the beautiful trees.
The Alexander Avenue Project is a collaboration between portrait artist R. Douglass Rice and photographer David Katzenstein. These artists have been friends and collaborators for over 20 years, and this is their current project about the people who make up the livelihood of one block on Alexander Avenue in the South Bronx. The artists spent two days on block where Doug Rice’s studio is located, meeting and photographing the neighborhood regulars.
The initial concept was for Katzenstein to create 10 portraits of individuals who inhabited the block and then Rice would use these images as inspiration in his painting process. Upon completion the artists returned to their subjects to share with them the their creations.
Junior Kimbrough’s House Party – Holly Springs, Mississippi 1988
Between 1988 and ’89, I made two trips to Arkansas and Mississippi with Robert Palmer, who was one of the country’s most respected writers and historians about the history of blues music. We were on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine, and because of Bob’s contacts we had important access to numerous musicians in the area. What became clear as we began our journey together, searching for the roots of the blues, was that the music is part of the Delta landscape and the people we encountered were carrying on an important tradition that spanned many decades. My goal was to visually depict their lives and their love of the musical tradition in which they lived.
My time on the road with Bob was very special. His unbridled excitement of all things Southern was infective. By day we drove to visit musicians in their homes and towns, and by night we visited blues clubs, juke joints, and house parties. Bob’s encyclopedic knowledge of the music and musicians made for an amazing journey.
I am a Muslim Too rally in Times Square, NYC on Sunday, February 19, 2017
On Sunday, February 19, 2017 a couple thousand people gathered in Times Square to show their support for Muslims, who have been singled out by the Trump administration because of their faith. All types of people attended, from students to families to rappers to our mayor. The mood was hopeful, a gathering rather than a protest.
This series of photographs is part of Katzenstein’s ongoing project POLITICS & PROTEST
I recently directed and filmed the 30 second spot #OppositeDay for Ill Eagle Marketing.
Here is the Press Release:
President Trump has a habit of telling us the opposite of what is true, so this Wed., Feb. 22, 2017, has been declared the first #OppositeDay by Operation Orange, a collective of directors, writers, designers, developers, strategists, lawyers and accountants who are working to provide Americans with productive actions to protest President Trump.
“This Wednesday we invite everyone to follow the lead of the president and say the opposite of what is true,” said J. Kent Pepper, creative director at Ill Eagle Marketing and a collaborator on Operation Orange. “Our goal is not to mock the president, but to remind him the truth matters, and there is only one set of facts–except on Wednesday, when words will mean their opposite. On that day we’ll all have something in common with President Trump.”
Operation Orange announced #OppositeDay in a commercial that aired Feb. 17 on CNN and during FOX & Friends, because President Trump frequently watches that program. The spot features a succession of orange-clad citizens speaking directly to President Trump, telling him that at least on National Opposite Day “the words you utter will be true.”
The name Operation Orange was chosen to indicate a simple action Americans can take–wearing orange–to make their disapproval to the Trump administration obvious to those around them. It is also an act of solidarity with other like-minded Americans.
Operation Orange will be an ongoing series of actions that anyone can participate in to show opposition to President Trump and his agenda.
“The president needs to understand he is the president of all Americans, so it is his obligation to look out for the best interests of everyone,” Mr. Pepper added.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”