David Lykes Keenan

I was born in Michigan in 1954 and have been photographing since presented with a clunky East German camera in 1966. I graduated from Michigan State University (Go GREEN!) in 1976 with a B.S. in computer science.

If one overlooks the nearly thirty years between 1976 and 2003 when I worked in the computer software rat race, started a couple of related businesses, and hardly touched a camera, one could say I've been at it a long, long time.


Between 2003 and 2016, I steadily pursued a life change in the direction of fine art photography. In 2006, I stepped back from a software business that I founded in 1986 to focus on photography full-time.

As a still photographer, my first love is street photography, in black and white, using a small, unobtrusive rangefinder camera. People, usually random and anonymous, are essential elements of these photographs. My preferred method is to see, photograph, but not be seen.

My inspiration comes from the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the godfather of street photography; the American photographers Eli Reed, Elliott Erwitt, Mary Ellen Mark, Lee Friedlander, and Czech Josef's, Sudek and Koudelka, and Jindrich Streit. Throw in the Americans Richard Kalvar and Garry Winogrand, and the Iapanese master Daido Moriyama for good measure.

Photography projects have included a book of street photography entitled "FAIR WITNESS: Street Photography for the 21st Century" released by the Italian publisher Damiani Editore in March 2015, an on-going street portrait series I call "LOOK At Me", a photo essay on the war ravaged Croatian city of Vukovar which resulted in a book published in the UK, a journal of European urinals (or pissiors) which became a book entitled "PISS", an exploration of color infrared pinhole photography, and my Picture-A-Week (PAW) series published continuously to my web site between 2007 and 2016 -- and recently restarted for 2020 with the introduction of this, my new, "dlkphotography.com" web site.

Film Making

In 2015, I took an introductory screenwriting class in New York City.  I had aspired to being a writer, thinking 15 years previously that I had a historical fiction novel in me. I didn't. But writing screenplays kind of stuck to me.

Around this same time, I was asked to be Ellar Coltrane's on-set legal guardian on the set of Richard Linklater's film Boyhood. That set the hook.

I find the work of writer/director film makers like Linklater, Jeff Nichols, and friends Greg Kwedar and Clint Bentley to be inspiring. These film makers, for the most part, write a script then make the film. Rinse and repeat. Hollywood is nowhere in my future -- so if I can follow these guy's footsteps then I will be content.

Being pals for several years by this time, Ellar agreed to play the lead in my second short film Bodies of Water. We shot this film in 2017 and it subsequently played in 16 film festivals the following year.

Still a fledgling film maker, I have had a major part in the creation of four short films so far. I have completed two feature film screenplays. With luck, one of these will become a film within the next year.

What's Next

I still carry a camera with me everywhere I go. I have resumed my PAW series on this site, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I have ideas for another book of photography.

Making films is far more complex a task but presently I have several projects in the works.

Thank you for your interest. If you wish to contact me, please skip over to the Contact page.

Kind Words

"Dave continues to enhance the vanishing art of observation in street photography. His steady eye is evident in his FAIR WITNESS book which deserves the support and special appreciation of all photographers." -- Elliott Erwitt

"You have a great eye and are a really fine street photographer. I especially like the ones that have humor -- because you have a wonderful sense of humor and you're able to express that in your photographs." -- Mary Ellen Mark

"Therei s a grand tradition [of street photography] and Dave has upped the ante. When I think about Gary Winogrand or Lee Friedlander and the kind of things they did, it’s like that, Dave’s stuff is, but it’s more today." -- Eli Reed

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