Leslie, Downtown, Knoxville, 1967
Leslie, Downtown, Knoxville, 1967
Memorial Day Run, Milwaukee, 1966
Memorial Day Run, Milwaukee, 1966
Crossing the Ohio, Louisville, 1966
Crossing the Ohio, Louisville, 1966
Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin, 1965-66
Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin, 1965-66
Bob Dylan behind the SNCC office, Greenwood, Mississippi, 1963
Bob Dylan behind the SNCC office, Greenwood, Mississippi, 1963
On the Road to Yazoo City, Mississippi, 1963
On the Road to Yazoo City, Mississippi, 1963
Cell block table, The Walls, 1967
Cell block table, The Walls, 1967
All Detail


The Bikeriders
Civil Rights





Danny Lyon in The New Yorker

October 14, 2015

In 1967, the twenty-five-year-old photographer, who was already known for his work with the civil-rights movement and his book on the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle gang, embedded himself in Texas prisons for more than fourteen months. The resulting pictures indict a brutal, dehumanizing system in which inmates were treated like slaves. The project’s strength—seen in thirty-three extraordinary vintage prints—is how it balances images of field labor, shakedowns, and strip searches with more private moments. Given one-on-one access to prisoners, Lyon put a human face on an inhumane system.

For more Goings On About Town, please visit The New Yorker

Danny Lyon in The Wall Street Journal

October 13, 2015

Well, not quite dead, but might as well be. The subjects of Danny Lyon’s project from 1967-68 are convicts in prisons of the Texas Department of Corrections. Houk is showing 33 of the vintage prints Mr. Lyon (b. 1942) used for his 1971 book, “Conversations With the Dead.” They tend to alternate between intimate portraits that show the prisoners—men and women—as individuals, and pictures that show them in their all-white prison uniforms being treated en masse.

For the full review, please visit The Wall Street Journal

Danny Lyon in Slate

In 1967, Danny Lyon drove from his home in New York to Huntsville, Texas, where, over the course of 14 months, he visited and photographed seven penitentiaries.

The director of the Texas Department of Corrections granted Lyon full access to the prisons, which housed a range of inmates: Some, like the Walls and Ramsey, were for the general population. Others, like Ellis, were where the most dangerous inmates lived. The resulting images, a poignant, personal look at the daily lives of the inmates, resulted in a book, Conversations With the Dead, that was first published in 1971; after nearly 45 years out of print, last month Phaidon published a new edition of the book.

For the full review, please visit Slate

Danny Lyon in The New Yorker

September 16, 2015

In 1967, Danny Lyon, a young photographer from New York who had spent the beginning of his career documenting the civil-rights movement, was granted permission by the Texas Department of Corrections to photograph freely inside the state’s penitentiaries. He spent the next fourteen months among the inmates at six institutions, producing a raw and revealing portrait of prison life that was published, in 1971, in the volume “Conversations with the Dead.” Lyon wrote, in the book’s foreword, that he had tried “to make a picture of imprisonment as distressing as I knew it to be.”

For the full article, please visit The New Yorker

Danny Lyon in Musée Magazine

September 15, 2015

Edwynn Houk Gallery presented an exhibition of rare, vintage photographs by Danny Lyon from his groundbreaking series, Conversations with the Dead. In 1967-68 Lyon spent over fourteen months inside Texas prisons, photographing and befriending inmates. Drawn from his own archive, many of the works on view are the first prints made and used to edit and lay out the first publication of his seminal book, Conversations with the Dead: Photographs of Prison Life with the Letters and Drawings of Billy McCune #122054 (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971). The exhibition coincides with Phaidon’s publication of the facsimile edition of the original 1971 book.

For the full article, please visit Musée Magazine

Phaidon on Danny Lyon's Conversations with the Dead

September 8, 2015

Danny Lyon’s 1971 photo book, Conversations With the Dead, is so affecting a work that, over four decades since the photographer completed this survey of Texan prisons, Lyon remains truly engaged with the subject.

The photographer, who was born in Brooklyn and began his career as part of the civil-rights movement, shot this series in six Texas penitentiaries over the course of 14 months during 1967 and '68. Danny befriended quite a few of the inmates; one, Billy McCune, even contributed letters and drawings to Lyon’s book.

For the full article, please visit Phaidon

Danny Lyon in The New York Times

September 6, 2015

“We should not be tolerating overcrowding in prison,” President Obama said in July. Against the backdrop of a growing national debate about incarceration rates in America, Phaidon is republishing Danny Lyon’s “Conversations With the Dead,” a book of photographs taken inside six Texas prisons in the late 1960s.

For the full article, please visit The New York Times

Danny Lyon to be honored at The Lucie Awards

July 21, 2015

The Lucie Awards is the premiere annual event honoring the greatest achievements in photography. The photography community from around the globe pays tribute to the most outstanding people in the field. Each year, the Lucie Advisory Board nominates deserving individuals across a variety of categories. Once these nominations have been received, an honoree in each category is selected.

The honorees are presented with the Lucie statue during a spectacular evening at the Lucie Awards gala ceremony in New York.

For more on the Lucie Awards and Danny Lyon's career, please visit The Lucie Awards

Danny Lyon in Daily Mail

December 20, 2014

Millions of New Yorkers ride the subway every day, most of them not bothering to look one another in the eye as they shuffle by lost in thought.

A photo exhibit by Danny Lyon called 'Underground: 1966' that the MTA Arts & Design has installed at Atlantic Av-Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York zooms in on the Subway riders of 1966, zooming in on ephemeral moments in an ever-changing city. It will be on display for one year.

According to MTA.com Lyon has had a long career as a photographer and filmmaker who documented the civil rights movement of 1962 in the South and was in a motorcycle gang in Chicago.

For the full article, please visit Daily Mail

ABC News on Danny Lyon's vintage photos of subway riders

December 18, 2014

Photographer Danny Lyon's images of New York City subway riders in 1966 are being featured in an exhibit by MTA Arts & Design. Lyon has had a distinguished career as a photographer and filmmaker, most notably documenting the Civil Rights Movement and motorcycle gangs in the 1960s. Returning to New York City in late 1966, Lyon's mother gave him the advice, "If you're bored, just talk to someone on the subway." Using a Rolleiflex camera and color transparency film, the images in "Underground: 1966" have never been publicly exhibited prior to this.

For more images from Danny Lyon's MTA exhibition, please visit ABC News

Danny Lyon in Paper Magazine

December 17, 2014

Photographer Danny Lyon spent the '60s in the South, photographing the Civil Rights Movement, traveling with motorcycle gangs, and creating some of the images that would make him one of the key artists of 20th century documentary photography. Upon returning to New York City in 1966, Lyon began photographing subway commuters around town, capturing the curious intimacy and anonymity of public transportation. Lyon told Fast Company, "When I speak with someone on the subway, I find New Yorkers easily slip into a conversation. Then they step out of the door and are gone." The photos, many of which were taken on New Year's Eve night, are being shown for the first time in the MTA Arts & Design exhibition, Underground: 1966 at the at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays station. They'll be on display for a year.

For more images from Danny Lyon's MTA exhibition, please visit Paper Magazine

The MTA displays Danny Lyon photographs at Atlantic Ave - Barclays station in Brooklyn

December 9, 2014

MTA Arts & Design has installed a new photography exhibit that features exclusive images by Danny Lyon, who photographed subway riders in 1966. The exhibit, located at the Atlantic Av-Barclays BDNQR2354 station in Brooklyn, will be on view for one year.

For the full press release, please visit MTA

Aesthetica Magazine on Danny Lyon's Bikeriders

June 24, 2014

For the first time in the UK, 40 modern prints from Danny Lyon’s The Bikeriders series will be showcased at ATLAS Gallery. Lyon (b.1942) immersed himself utterly into the lives and culture of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club from 1963 to 1967 and these images are an iconic representation of that time, offering a raw and lively insight into the biker culture of the 1960s.

For more on The Bikeriders, please visit Aesthetica Magazine

Danny Lyon in BBC News

June 19, 2014

In the 1960s Danny Lyon photographed the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, not as a passive observer, but in close, as part of the gang. The resulting photographs capture a subculture from the inside and form one of the defining photographic documents of that time, influencing many photographers who went on to record the decades that followed.

Lyon was born in New York in 1942 and first started photographing in the early 1960s as a staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the University of Chicago. His earliest photographs were published in a book on the southern civil rights movement, and since then he has continued to produce work that aims to shape and change opinion.

For the full article, please visit BBC News

L'Oeil de la Photographie on Danny Lyon and The Seventh Dog

June 6, 2014

“If we and our dogs are healthy, and we and they do not get run over or destroyed in the recklessness of our youth, seven is the number of companions we are allowed in our lifetime,” Danny Lyon explains in the beginning of his new book, The Seventh Dog (Phaidon). He continues, “This book is a record of my life. I have decided to start at the end of my life, and proceed backwards, so that we can begin in the present and go back to the past. In the beginning I had my dreams, but no way of knowing what awaited me. Now I can look back with satisfaction, knowing that, for me anyway, most things came out more or less as they were meant to be.”

For the full article, please visit L'Oeil

Danny Lyon in PDN Photo of the Day

May 30, 2014

“The Seventh Dog (Phaidon) is a new monograph by American photographer Danny Lyon. Organized chronologically, this artist’s book tells the story of Danny Lyon’s 50-year-career as one of America’s most original and influential documentary photographers. Groundbreaking as a photobook in itself, Lyon tells this story starting in the present day and going back in time to the beginning of his career in the 1960s when he photographed the American civil rights movement and the Chicago bikeriders. Through text and image—color and black-and-white photographs, original photo collages, letters and other ephemera (many published here for the first time), and Lyon’s own writings—this is a story of Danny Lyon’s personal journey as a photographer—a story about photojournalism, the move from film to digital photography, about Lyon’s life and quest as a photographer, and of America.” —Courtesy International Center of Photography (ICP)

For the full article and more from Danny, please visit PDN

The Chicago Reader on Danny Lyon's Bikeriders as book approaches reissue

April 24, 2014

Danny Lyon doesn't want to talk about the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The legendary documentary photographer won't say much about riding alongside Cal, Funny Sonny, Johnny, and the rest of the leather-clad gang in the 1960s, on an old Triumph cobbled together in a Hyde Park garage out of parts kept in coffee cans. He won't go into great detail about the photos he took with his trusty Nikon: Benny, leaning back in the saddle, a silhouette lit up from streetlights and neon signs at Grand and Division; Big Barbara, with eyes you could get lost in, staring into a jukebox; or Andy, drinking Hamm's longnecks off a pool table at the Stoplight bar in Cicero.

For the full article, please visit The Chicago Reader.

The New York Times' LENS blog reflects on Danny Lyon's career during Civil Rights Movement

January 21, 2014

Like an Old Testament prophet, the photographer Danny Lyon has agitated for his fellow man to pursue justice and freedom. This was not always a popular message, nor a lucrative one, but that wasn’t how he saw his role.

“I wasn’t interested in money,” Mr. Lyon wrote in an email exchange last week. “If I wanted to, I would have opened an automobile dealership. It was 1962 and I wanted to change America.”

For the full article and a slideshow of Lyon's images, please visit NYT LENS.

Danny Lyon exhibition at the Foto Colectania Foundation in Barcelona

Danny Lyon is considered one of the most influential and original documentary photographers of the 20th century. His work highlights for the special involvement he demonstrated with the communities he photographed in the United States. With works from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection, the Foto Colectania Foundation will exhibit in Barcelona three of his most iconic series, "Conversations with the Dead" (1971) where he reveals the situation of Texas state prisons in the late sixties, "The Bikeriders" (1967), showing the lives of the American Midwest bikers, and "Uptown" (1965), which reflects the life of the immigrant neighborhood in northern Chicago.

For more information, please visit Foto Colectania Foundation.

For information about Danny Lyon's talk at the exhibition, click here.

The Guardian: Danny Lyon: 'I put myself through an ordeal in order to create something'

15 May 2012

The great photographer, famous for documenting the civil rights struggle and riding with bikers in the 60s, grants a rare interview.

For the full article, please see The Guardian's website.

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Stubbornly Practicing His Principles of Photography

Published in The New York Times, April 26, 2009


“LISTEN, do I have time to feed my pig?” the photographer Danny Lyon asked, picking up the telephone one morning at his home in rural New Mexico. “It will only take about 10 minutes. I’ll call you back,” he said, adding: “That way I can start the day with a clean conscience.”

Among a group of revolutionaries whose work rose to prominence in the late 1960s and ’70s and transformed the nature of documentary photography — a group that includes friends and colleagues of Mr. Lyon’s like Mary Ellen Mark and Larry Clark — the idea of conscience has been imbedded more deeply in Mr. Lyon’s photographs than in those of all but a few of his contemporaries.

To view full article click download

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Jan, 2005

Do not ask DANNY LYON how he sees the world when he snaps the lens, or how he thinks. He's already answered those questions in the pictures and books he has produced over the past 40 years.

"Thats why you publish a book," he says. "You publish a book to show the world how you think."
Lyon, one of the country's premier documentarians and photojournalists, could chart his career by projects that record chapters in the nation's late 20th century life: civil rights, motorcycle gangs, urban destruction, South-to-North migrations, and a U.S dominated Latin America. He documented these and other topics in ten books and ten non-fiction films.

To view full article click download.

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Danny Lyon

b. New York, 1942

Danny Lyon is one of the most important American photographers of the last half century to renew the documentary tradition's concern with social justice. He was shaped by his experience covering the unrest of the 1960s as staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This led to his first publication, The Movement (1964), and since then he has produced numerous books, including Conversations with the Dead (1971), the first book on America's prison system by a photojournalist. He has also had a significant career as a filmmaker, his work including Little Boy (1977), Los Niños Abandonados (1975), and Social Sciences 127 (1969).

Self-taught, and driven by his twin passions for social change and the medium of photography, the power of Lyon's work has often derived from his willingness of immerse himself entirely in the cultures and communities he documents. This was evident early on in his series Bikeriders (1968; reissued in 2003 by Chronicle Books), which evolved from four years spent as a member of the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club. And Conversations with the Dead derived from his close study of the Texas prison system; it also revealed Lyon's novel and distinctive approach to the photobook, which often sees him splicing images with texts drawn from various sources, including interviews, letters, and even fiction.

In the late 1960s Lyon turned his camera on the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, where the construction of the World Trade Center, among other projects, cleared away much of the area's nineteenth century building stock (The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, 1969; reissued by powerHouse, 2005). The 1970s saw him return to documenting communities, in Texas and in New York, but in the 1980s he shifted gear, turning his lens on his family. In 1999 he once again spliced images and text to produce a memoir, Knave of Hearts (Twin Palms).

Danny Lyon lives in New Mexico and Maine. His most recent book is Memories of Myself (Phaidon, 2009), which collects his photo-essays from over four decades. He has been the subject of several major exhibitions at galleries including the Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Art Institute of Chicago. A major travelling retrospective was organised in 1990 by the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany, and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona.

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