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Danny Lyon

(b. 1942)


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(1942– ).

Photographer and filmmaker. His socially conscious documentary photographs recording misfits, outcasts, and counterculture figures speak for recognition of their humanity, for justice, and for reform. Born in New York, Daniel J. Lyon began taking pictures at twelve. After receiving his BA in history from the University of Chicago in 1963, Lyon signed on with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as its first staff photographer. During the next two years, he traveled to many scenes of dramatic events at the height of the civil rights movement. His photographs illustrate The Movement (1964), with text by Lorraine Hansberry. Later in the 1960s Lyon turned his quasi-anthropological attention to motorcycle riders, with whom he socialized and traveled for several years. Among marginalized individuals in an outlaw club, he saw admirable resistance to mainstream values. The Bikeriders (1968) combines his photographs with his subjects' reminiscences. For his next book, Lyon collaborated with Texas prison inmates. Conversations with the Dead (1971) implicitly advocates more humane standards of sentencing and incarceration. Lyon had traveled to Colombia in 1966, and in the early 1970s he again photographed there as well as in Mexico. By this time, he frequently used color film. After living briefly in New Mexico, he worked in New York in the 1980s. In the 1990s Lyon exhibited collages created from photographs related to his family life. He lives on a farm in the Hudson River Valley. His other books include Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement (1992) and Knave of Hearts (1999), a photographic memoir. He has also made a number of films.

Subjects: Art.


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