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Danny Lyon’s ‘New Journalism

ON343 - MAY/2014

Three of the most emblematic series of Danny Lyon, one of the most influential and original documentalist photographers of the 20th century, have been on show in Barcelona in two exhibitions that have showcased the work of one of the driving forces behind ‘New Journalism’ and a representative of the so-called 'concerned photographers'. The works were on loan from the Martin Z. Margulies collection and showed how, for Lyon, authorship is more important than the subject matter, with personal learning acquiring special importance.

'Conversations with the Dead' (1968), the series occupying the first exhibition, brought together 176 photographs illustrating the 14-month period during which Lyon moved freely around six different penitentiary units, in a true reflection of the situation of the prisons of the state of Texas in the late nineteen-sixties. Portraits of real, perfectly individualised beings within the anonymous jail environment, offering a particular vision through which the photographer transforms this State’s penal system into a symbol of imprisonment on a global scale.

The second exhibition featured two series, 'The Bikeriders' (1962-66) and 'Uptown' (1965), which respectively describe the life of the bikers in the American Midwest, in an ‘attempt to register and glorify the life of the American bikerider'; and that of the Uptown immigrant district of North Chicago, through which the photographer seeks to give visibility to people who would never have had it if not through his images.

In an activity organised in parallel to the shows, Lyon gave a talk on his photographic trajectory, with the screening of his most emblematic works and his latest film, 'Nothing' (2012), an existential overview of himself, the nature of his work and the immense emptiness of his home, the American Southwest. In addition the Filmoteca de Catalunya, the Catalan Film Library, dedicated a thematic series of 4 films to the iconography of motorcyclists in film.


Julián Romea, 6 - 08017 Barcelona (Spain) T./ +34 93 217 16 26

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