For the first time in the UK, 40 modern prints from Danny Lyon’s The Bikeriders series will be showcased at ATLAS Gallery. Lyon (b.1942) immersed himself utterly into the lives and culture of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club from 1963 to 1967 and these images are an iconic representation of that time, offering a raw and lively insight into the biker culture of the 1960s.
A modern photojournalist, Lyon’s approach was to document his subject intimately from the inside rather than as an observer. His four enthralling years with the Club’s members were spent on long distance rides, at meets, race and informal gatherings across the United States of America. The locations included such diverse landscapes as Milwaukee, Long Island New York, New Orleans and Detroit.
Lyon photographed and recorded his subjects along the way, creating an extensive archive of black and white photographs that reveal the various characters that he made his friends. His body of work was fundamental in demystifying preconception around biker culture and remains a seminal work on the non-commercial faces of 1960s America.
The work of Danny Lyon has had a huge impact on photographers such as Nan Goldin and Larry Clark. Starting as a staff photographer at the University of Chicago, his early career was defined by his work on the Southern Civil Rights Movement. He’s studied and photographed death-row inmates, street kids and the transformation of the urban make-up of lower Manhatten. A fascination with humanitarian issues and the grittier communities on the edge of society has always formed the basis of his work, and today he is regarded as one of the most important documentary photographers of the last 50 years.
The Bikeriders was first published in 1968, and the exhibition at ATLAS Gallery ties in with the re-issue of a journal-size book published by Aperture.
Danny Lyon, The Bikeriders, until 16 August, Atlas Gallery, 49 Dorset Street, London, W1U 7NF. For more information visit www.atlasgallery.com.
1. Crossing the Ohio River from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1966.
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