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 the software business that I founded in 1986 and focused on photography full-time.

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 and photograph, but not be seen.

My inspiration largely comes from the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the godfather of street photography; and the American photographers Eli Reed, Elliott Erwitt, Mary Ellen Mark, Lee Friedlander, Richard Kalvar and Garry Winogrand.

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, a street portrait series called "LOOK At Me", a photo essay on the war ravaged Croatian city of Vukovar (which resulted in a book published in the UK), and a journal of European pissiors which became my book entitled "PISS".

My Picture-A-Week (PAW) series was published continuously to my website between 2007 and 2016. I recently restarted it in 2020 to coincide with the introduction of this, my new, "dlkphotography.com" website.

Film Making

In 2015, I took an introductory screenwriting class in New York City.  Some 15 years previously I thought that I had a historical fiction novel in me. I didn't. But after this class,  writing screenplays stuck with me.

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

I find the work of Texas writer/director/filmmakers like Linklater, Jeff Nichols, and friends Greg Kwedar and Clint Bentley to be very inspiring. These filmmakers, for the most part, write a script then make the film. That's what I aspire to do.

Ellar Coltrane, my pal for several years by this time, agreed to play the lead role in my second short film Bodies of Water. We shot this film in 2017 and, subsequently, it played in 18 film festivals the following year. No small feat.

To date I have had a major part in the creation of four short films. I have completed numerous short and  two feature film screenplays. A third feature is in the works. With luck, one or more of these will become a film sometime soon.

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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