Danny Lyon does it like nobody else. Born in Brooklyn in 1942, he transformed photography into one of the most astounding arts of documentary possibilities. A self-described “dissenter in my own country,” Lyon took to the edges of American life to document the country from the inside out, removing the veils of appearance politics to reveal the truth about this country in black and white like no one before—or since.
A self-taught photographer, filmmaker, and writer, Lyon’s work exemplifies the best aspects of New Journalism. Forsaking the industry’s so-called “objectivity” in favor of using the media as a means to an ends greater than the story itself. Whether on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement or behind the bars of the Texas State Penitentiary, Lyon used photography to bear witness to causes, movements, and historical moments that were happening in the here and now.
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Artwork: Danny Lyon, “Tesca, Cartagena, Colombia,” 1966. Cibachrome, printed 2008. Image 25.7 × 25.7 cm (10 1/8 × 10 1/8 in.). Collection of the artist.