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David Katzenstein ’76 shares a few of his photos from “Outside the Lorraine: A Photographic Journey to a Sacred Place,” an exhibition now showing at the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee.
hen photographer David Katzenstein ’76 visited the historic Lorraine Hotel, home to the National Civil Rights Museum, he noticed that, before entering the museum, visitors spent long periods of time in the courtyard outside the hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
“I spent about 20 minutes capturing images and observing how, in this sacred place, families, individuals, friends and strangers experienced personal relationships within the collective narrative—a shared human experience of deep loss, grief, triumph, hope and change,” Katzenstein said.
These initial images formed the idea for “Outside the Lorraine,” an exhibit containing about 90 photographs that highlight the museum as a mecca for peacemakers, a place of memory and connection during this, the museum’s 30th anniversary.
“‘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 lovingly supported the museum over the last 30 years, and it 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.
Katzenstein has traveled extensively throughout the world creating narrative imagery for fine art exhibitions, global corporate giants and philanthropic organizations. In 2018, he formed The Human Experience Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create and mount exhibitions of photographs depicting the human experience.
“My work is steeped in the tradition of documentary and reportage photographers such as Cartier-Bresson and Josef Koudelka. I set the stage for the viewer of my images to be in the moment with me, as if they were standing beside me,” Katzenstein said.