Outside the Lorraine: A Photographic Journey to a Sacred Place by David Katzenstein

New York fine arts photographer David Katzenstein has traveled throughout the world on his lifelong artistic journey as a visual chronicler of humanity. Using subject, light, and composition to create visual dynamism, he sets the stage for the viewer to be in the moment with him. His goal is to allow viewers to experience a scene through his eyes—as if they were standing there beside him. Steeped in the tradition of documentary photography, Katzenstein imbues his work with immediacy, emotional engagement, and a deep respect for his subjects.

Out of his fascination with ritual, over the years Katzenstein has photographed pilgrimage as practiced in different cultures. While visiting Memphis in the spring of 2017, he was inspired to expand on this theme by embarking on the project OUTSIDE THE LORRAINE MOTEL: Journey to a Sacred Place. The artist was introduced to the Mid-South region in the late 1980s while on assignment for Rolling Stone, documenting the roots of the blues in rural communities of Mississippi and Arkansas.

In 2018 Katzenstein formed a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create and mount exhibitions of photographs depicting the human experience. Cover Photo: © David Katzenstein

© David Katzenstein

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis opens the fine art photography exhibition, Outside the Lorraine: A Photographic Journey to a Sacred Place featuring the work of David Katzenstein. The yearlong exhibition highlights the museum as mecca for peacemakers, a place of memory and connection during the museum’s 30th anniversary.

The collection of over 90 photos in Outside the Lorraine helps visitors identify with social issues by using fine art photography to connect to the historic place, Dr. King, movement makers, and one another. Viewers are invited to see the sparkle that lies within each print that shimmers, vibrates, and introduces people to a richer experience with fine art photography by making each piece relatable.

“Outside the Lorraine offers the rare opportunity for our visitors to see themselves reflected in the artwork of one of our exhibitions,” said Dr. Noelle Trent, the museum’s Director of Interpretation, Collections and Education. “The exhibition is a ‘thank you’ to our visitors who have loving supported the museum over the last 30 years and emphasizes the beautiful array of humanity that energizes the courtyard and museum. As the world slowly reopens, we hope this exhibition reminds our audience how much they mean to us,” Trent said.

© David Katzenstein

© David Katzenstein

The idea began in 2017 when the Katzenstein returned to the museum with his family. He noticed how people were spending a lot of time in the courtyard before ever entering the museum. He spent 20 minutes capturing images and observing how, in this sacred place, families, individuals, friends, and strangers experienced personal relationship within the collective narrative – a shared human experience of deep loss, grief, triumph, hope, and change. He introduced his project to the exhibit designer and curator, Gay Feldman.

The courtyard is the first stop museum visitors confront assumptions about the Civil Rights Movement. The photographs in this exhibit convey unspoken messages that inform and influence how people understand today’s world. A picture is worth a thousand words.

© David Katzenstein

© David Katzenstein

Katzenstein has traveled extensively throughout the world creating narrative imagery for fine art exhibitions, global corporate giants and philanthropic organizations. Steeped in the tradition established by documentary and reportage photographers such as Cartier- Bresson and Josef Koudelka, he imbues all his work with emotional engagement and a deep respect for humanity. Spontaneous, authentic, and bold, his lens captures the essence of each moment providing the viewer with an intimate view of the world around us.

Feldman has been involved in commercial and fine art photography for over three decades. Her formal background as an art historian and experience working alongside some of the most recognizable names in design and creative direction, have allowed her to guide and nurture the careers for a notable coterie of creatives. In 2015, she began a new chapter in her life devoted towards creating content in support of mission- based organizations. Her dedication to education and public access to the arts has supported independent schools, community-based initiatives, and other nonprofit entities. A recent graduate of Bank Street College of Education (M.S.Ed Museum Education), Feldman continues to combine passion for the arts with her entrepreneurial acumen on a daily basis through curriculum development, curation and exhibition design.

The Outside the Lorraine exhibition is on display at the museum until April 4, 2022. 

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 student visits annually. The Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement and tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights. It educates and serves as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change.

The Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries. It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM • 450 MULBERRY ST. • MEMPHIS, TN 38103


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