Posted on November 21, 2012 by Isabella Cecconi
If you have never heard of Danny Lyon, I’m really glad to introduce and getting to know this magnificent filmmaker, writer and self-taught photographer born in 1942 in Brooklyn, New York. After a graduation at the University of Chicago, with a BA in Arts in 1963, Lyon began creating his own photo books with the pictures he would take during his many adventures. His first, was a study of outlaw motorcyclists as he was member and part of the Outlaws motorcycle club of Chicago. He traveled with them and shared their lifestyle. He later got interested in the Texas penal system and started taking pictures of prisoners. Lyon also befriended many of the prisoners. His images are nowadays considered part of the New journalism movement, meaning that the photographer had become immersed, and was a participant, of the documented subject. For the past five decades he has produced a mix of documentary photographs and film, both politically conscious and personal. In the 1960s when photographers where working the poetry of the streets and snubbing their noses at the tradition of photojournalism, Lyon embraced both the lyrical potential of photography as well as its ability to raise awareness to political issues. Some of his earliest images were as staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee documenting the civil rights demonstrations against segregation in the South. Later, when he moved to Texas he lived and documented for 14 months the Texas prisons. Lyon’s work belies the detachment of documentary in favor of a more complicated subjective involvement, his style is marked by its pursuit of the moment, in the communities of the outskirts, the outsiders of mainstream society, the exceptional and strong political consciousness and concern. Throughout his long and prolific career, Lyon has combined an eye for beautiful compositions with passionate interest in political struggle and change. Photographs from all periods of the artist’s career as well as images from a new series create poetic reflections on memory, family and life. Nowadays he runs a blog where you can follow his adventures. Today 70, Danny Lyon is a continuous flow of passionate photography.