Monday, May 04, 2009

Ryan Pyle Blog: Photographer Danny Lyon


I feel a bit naive for only having been introduced to Danny Lyon's work about a year ago. But a recent New York Times article (which can be found HERE) sheds light on a photographer who "stubbornly practices his principles". If you read on, he basically comes across as a hard nose photographer who bends for no one; and I love that.

Danny's work, at the time was perceived as "new photojournalism"; the key was he aimed his camera at people and situations people often didn't want to see. He focused on life in prison, motorcycle gangs, the poor, people who lived in the inner city. It was, in his eyes, an attempt to document the real USA, to expose humanity.

Self confessed to being "Pretty uncompromising and not very commercial", I think he is representative of a lot of idealistic photographers who work on non-commercial projects because they feel that these stories are important to tell. I myself have been engaged in a whole series of projects in China, and India, that have never seen the light of day; but even knowing that I would still have done everything the same. Some stories need to be told. Some situations need to be witnessed, exposed, discussed and publicized in order to be better understood.

One of the great quotes to come out of this article is when Danny says: “You put a camera in my hand, I want to get close to people, not just physically close, emotionally close, all of it. It’s part of the process." I really love that, and it's true. There is a real bond between photographer and subject, on that I often strive for in much of my work as well.

Danny doesn't have a website with all this work available but if you do a google search you'll come across enough galleries and educational establishments that have links to his incredible collection of work.


Ryan Pyle

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Ryan Pyle