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Memories of Myself.
Essays by Danny Lyon.
Phaidon, London, 2009. 208 pp., 95 black & white and 39 color illustrations,
Selected as one of the
Best Books of 2009
Danny Lyon emerged as a courageous participant and recorder of the civil rights movement in America in the early 1960s. He has long been considered one of the most popular and influential American photographers and pioneered the style of photographic 'New Journalism' - immersing himself and becoming a participant in his subjects' lives and leading the way in a style of photography that has influenced a following generation of photographers such as Nan Goldin. He has received much recognition for his work including two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and ten National Endowment for the Arts awards. His work is in a number of major photography collections and he has had solo exhibitions at many museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago.He recently was the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007. His best-known bodies of work, mostly in black and white, include 'The Bikeriders', a documentation of a Chicago outlaw motorcyle club that he photographed after joining them on the road, and 'Conversations with the Dead', a portrayal of life in the Texas prison system. Both projects were published as photobooks and are among the most sought-after photobooks for collectors and photo-enthusiasts. A first edition of 'The Bikeriders' can now be found on auction sites for over $2000 and both books are among Parr and Badger's selection of the most important photobooks in history in Phaidon's 'The Photobook: A History, Volume I'. This book presents a collection of Lyon's photo essays, published in their complete form for the first time, accompanied by texts written by Lyon in his own distinctive voice.These short bodies of work range from his early colour work made in Colombia in 1966 to his recent work made in Cuba. Sexy, edgy, visceral, and rough, most of this work has never been seen before and this book also includes lesser-known examples of Lyon's work in colour. Each of the nine photo essays includes 15 to 20 photographs, and the topics include his 1966 series on the women living in a brothel in a Colombian barrio, a beautiful 1965 series on a gang of young boys from Chicago, a mesmerising and joyful black and white series on Haiti from 1983, a humorous project on derby cars and their contestants from the late 1980s, a series on the troubled youth living in the Bushwick neighbourhood of Brooklyn in the 1990s, and a stunning colour series from Cuba in 2002.An introduction by Lyon gives an insight into his motivations and his career and an interview with the highly influential photography curator, Hugh Edwards, completes the portrait of this rebellious and important figure of American photography.
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