Bronx Teens at a Turning Point the Focus of Photo Exhibition at Bronx Museum

Images of Bronx high school students at a turning point in their lives, and again nine years later, are the focus of Bronx Portraits: 2003 + 2012, an exhibition by photographer David Katzenstein, on view at the Bronx Museum (10/18/2012 - 01/06/2013)
Tanya, from "Bronx Portraits: 2003 + 2012"
Tanya, from "Bronx Portraits: 2003 + 2012"
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Oct. 3, 2012 - PRLog -- The turning point was the first musical ever staged by the students of Jane Addams Vocational High School, a significant event in their lives made possible by a modest arts grant. The show was Grease, with its relevant adolescent themes of music, romance, gangs, rebellion and identity. Invited by director Jon Adam Ross, Katzenstein came to rehearsals during the 2002-2003 school year, sensed the excitement around the production and began shooting portraits of the young actors in the same auditorium where Grease would play for three wildly successful performances before a raucous and appreciative local crowd of students and family members.

Katzenstein said, “I was both intrigued and exhilarated by the raw energy of the students, and wondered over the years how this experience had affected each of their lives.”

This past spring Ross and Katzenstein organized a reunion of the original cast, giving the photographer the chance to create new images of the former students in the same locations from nine years ago and to interview them about how being in this show had affected their lives.

Bronx Portraits: 2003 + 2012 includes 11 "before & after" portrait diptychs, 12 stand-alone photographic portraits and text drawn from video interviews made during the reunion (the videos are online at

“The project has proved to be a remarkable and enlightening experience for all and is a testament of t he importance that art plays in the shaping of young peoples lives,” Katzenstein said.

For the past 30 years Katzenstein has traveled throughout the world documenting numerous cultures and capturing the moments in between. One of his long-term interests has been the integration of ritual into society in places as diverse as Egypt, India, Cuba, Senegal, Mexico and France. He currently has a traveling exhibition entitledIslam in Africa: A Pilgrimage to Touba, Senegal, that will next be mounted at Connecticut College in January 2013, and is collaborating with photographer Sherrie Nickol on a large project entitled The Citizen Project photographing to date over 2500 people in our New York City.

To view online:

Concurrent with Bronx Portraits 2003+2012 the Bronx Museum is also presenting Valerie Capers: A Portrait, an exhibition of Katzenstein's photographs of Bronx jazz pianist Dr. Valerie Capers created over 17 years of her career.

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BRONX MUSEUM 1040 Grand Concourse @ 165th Street Bronx, New York 10456
Hours: Thursdays, Saturday and Sundays from 11am-6pm / Fridays fro 11am-8pm
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