Opus Art, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Three Young Men by Danny Lyon

Danny Lyon Biography

Danny Lyon is a self-taught American photographer and filmmaker.

In 1963 he published his first photographs working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the University of Chicago. His pictures appeared in The Movement, a documentary book about the Southern Civil Rights Movement.

Lyon’s own books include Bikeriders, first published in 1967. He became a member of the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club and travelled with them from 1963 to 1967. He describes the series as ‘an attempt to record and glorify the life of the American bikerider.’

His next work, The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, documents the large-scale demolition taking place throughout Lower Manhattan in 1967. Included are photographs of soon to be demolished streets and buildings, portraits of the neighbourhood's last remaining stragglers and pictures from within the demolition sites themselves.

Conversations with the Dead, in 1971, was published with full cooperation of the Texas Department of Corrections. Lyon photographed in six prisons over a fourteen month period in 1967 to 1968. The introduction of Lyon's book points to a statement of purpose that the penal system of Texas is symbolic for incarceration everywhere. He states, ‘I tried with whatever power I had to make a picture of imprisonment as distressing as I knew it to be in reality.’

Danny Lyon immerses himself, and becomes a participant, of his documented subject.

Danny Lyon received the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for photography in 1969, and in film making in 1979. He has had solo exhibits at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.

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