In Memory of CeDell Davis


CeDell Davis – Pine Bluff, Arkansas 1988

In memory of CeDell Davis – Bluesman Who Played Guitar With a Knife, who diedon September 27 at age 91 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas (June 6, 1926 -October 1, 2017). Photographed n 1988 while on assignment for Rolling Stone Magazine.

To view my Roots of the Blues project click here

© David Katzenstein


THE OXFORD AMERICAN Features Roots of the Blues


Junior Kimbrough’s House PartyHolly 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.

To see the article Roots of the Blues in The Oxford American click here

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To view the article click here

© David Katzenstein

50/50: South Africa



As the end of apartheid was approaching I was sent by Rolling Stone Magazine to photograph the white activist musician Johnny Clegg, who mixed Zulu infused rhythms with his protest lyrics. When I completed the three day shoot in Johannesburg, I asked my newfound friend Dudu Zulu (Clegg’s dancing partner for many years) if I could pay a short visit to his home in Zululand. My idea was to photograph Dudu dancing in costume in his native setting. Tugela Ferry was a six-hour drive southeast from the city. When I arrived at Dudu’s, I walked into his house to find him playing cards with three friends. When reminded of my idea he instructed the small group to return tomorrow to ‘dance for David’. To my amazement, the next afternoon over 200 men, women and children arrived in full regalia and the festivities began. All I can say is that if you heard one hundred Zulu warriors chanting their war songs as they approached your village you would run for your life.

Read more about the 50/50 project here

View Zululand here

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