Colombo, Sri Lanka 2006
Breaking through the fourth wall, Opening Act works with New York City’s most under-served public schools by providing students with the opportunity to gain confidence, pride, and the knowledge that they can succeed at anything in life.
In 2013 David Katzenstein received an invitation to create a portfolio of fine art photographs to help enhance awareness in support of Opening Acts’ development goals. 2018 was a banner year for the organization. Photographing the performers, writers, and host of contributing artists for last years’ gala presentation of Hear Me Here directed by Kenny Leon, formalized the students’ experience through fine art photography. Transformative and inspiring, this project continues to enhance Opening Act’s efforts in ways we never dreamed possible. We are thrilled to participate with this organization on an ongoing basis.
Please join us in honoring the incredible students, artists, and supporters of Opening Act as we celebrate their 19th year of success at their Annual Gala on April 2, 2019, at New World Stages in New York City.
Join us in celebrating The Human Experience Project!
Shining a light on joy, education, and service our goal is to create visual
narrative content supporting mission-based organizations, institutions, and individuals
who inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge and strengthen our communities.
We look forward to hearing from you!
David + Gay
(To learn more, please visit our site The Human Experience Project)
“It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men (and women) are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”
― Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers
International Women’s Day – New York City 2017
This series of portraits of women were taken on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, when women all over the world celebrated International Women’s Day in many different ways. In New York City the festivities began at noon in midtown Manhattan, on the corner of 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. As the organizers spoke the crowd continued to stream in from different directions, carrying signs and chanting in unison their solidarity with women’s rights everywhere. Spirits were high as women congregated with signs in groups, cheering on each speaker. At the conclusion of the rally, the organizers announced that all participants should now march along Central Park South towards the Trump Hotel. That is where the event morphed into a 1960’s style protest documented in the next series.
© David Katzenstein
Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca – Peru 1984
In the 1980s I began experimenting with an old Kodak Brownie camera that I picked up at a flea market. I was drawn to the cameras limitations – fixed focus and only one aperture setting – as a way to expand composition; foreground versus background, in focus versus out of focus, while at the same time concentrating on the boldness of color in the real world that surrounded me. I began experimenting in New York City but soon traveled to far off exotic locals to expand my palette.
© David Katzenstein
– Abraham Lincoln
© David Katzenstein
During these unsettling times, it is important to remember and celebrate the importance of
Dr. King, both the man and his message.
The National Civil Rights Museum is housed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. On the fateful evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray while he relaxed with friends on the balcony outside of room 306. For this series of photographs I was interested in exploring the visitor’s experience outside the museum when they first arrived, and the power of the historical visual elements that greeted them before they entered the building.
With Venezuela being the 50th country posted I am happy to announce that I have reached the end of my 50/50 project, sharing 50 images from 50 countries (with 50 stories). I will soon make the entire collection available in its entirety.
While on assignment in Venezuela in 2005 I traveled all night by van from Caracas due west to visit the country’s second city, Maracaibo. We arrived after sunrise exhausted and dripping from the humidity and heat, and immediately proceeded to explore this sprawling metropolis that was a respite from the gridlock and constant safety issues of Caracas. President Hugo Chavez was in office, and there were already signs of a county on the verge of collapse. This image selected here of a group of teenagers cruising in a late model US automobile, passing by political posters bathed in late afternoon sunlight tells part of the story of this rattled country.
50/50: Argentina, Austria, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Oman, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, Vanuatu, Venezuela
I created a series of private moments of people in a public environment, on a very busy set of escalators in a New York City mall. From a particular heightened vantage point I was able to localize individuals or groups of people as they made their descent, creating what seems like ‘film stills’ – reflective moments captured in time and space. Each image has a story behind it for the viewer to fill in the blanks. These photographs are part of a larger ongoing project entitled The Urban Landscape.
© David Katzenstein