David Michael Kennedy


David Michael Kennedy’s photographs have been stopping viewers dead in their tracks for three decades.  An intelligent and imaginative artist, he is a mixture of New York tenacity and New Mexican frontiersman, whose palladium prints of southwest lands and skies, international celebrities and Native American Dancers are sought after by collectors worldwide.


David achieved great success and fame in New York as a commercial photographer, winning awards and amassing a following of clients like CBS News, NATO, Hasselblad Cameras, Atlantic and CBS Records.  He exhibited his celebrity work internationally and won CLIO and CEBA awards.  But after eighteen years, this was not enough.


In 1987, Kennedy moved to New Mexico to live a more grounded and simple life that would feed his desire to concentrate on the fine art aspect of his work.  The solitude and wildness of the southwest inspired him to capture its unique beauty in a series of palladium prints.  The rich, brown tones of these prints recall those of Edward S. Curtis and William Henry Jackson.  Kennedy, like them, makes each print by hand.  His technique goes back to the origins of photography and requires a level of skill and intense labor that most photographers today do not embrace.  His editions are small in order to guarantee the integrity of the work and he often spends days to get just the right print.


A long time supporter of Native American causes, Kennedy has documented the sacred dances of the Lakota Sioux and the Northern New Mexico Pueblos in two leather- bound collectors’ portfolios.  This unique collection took years to accomplish and is awe inspiring in its beauty.  In it he combines his skills in portraiture, motion photography, and sky scapes to achieve the difficult task of capturing the spirit of these dances.


The Smithsonian now has his work as well as many other institutions and notable collectors.  In 1996, David was commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to photograph “ New Mexcio’s Cultural Landscape” of people, churches, national parks, architecture and historic lands.  Demand for his work has often exceeded the limits of his process; but he will not compromise and continues to make each print by hand, dedicating himself to the almost lost art of platinum palladium printmaking.



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