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

"Don't you know I'm a recluse?" Danny Lyon offers from his adobe home in New Mexico. It's a joke of sorts. The 70-year-old photographer, who established his reputation documenting the US civil rights movement, prisoners in the Texas penal system and motorbike gangs in Chicago, hasn't been so visible in decades.

Lyon may not be as immediately recognisable as predecessors such as W Eugene Smith or Walker Evans, or even near-contemporaries like Robert Frank, but his contribution to photography's "new realism" movement is no less significant, and a retrospective of his work currently at the Menil Collection in Houston goes a way to establishing that.

Lyon's anti-authority, 60s-warrior idealism is undimmed. He recently published a book on workers in the industrial Shanxi province of China and, late last year, turned his Leica on Occupy camps in nearby Albuquerque, as well as New York's Zuccotti Park, Oakland and Los Angeles.

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