Danny Lyon: Capturing Society

A striking collection of photographs created by the American documentary photographer Danny Lyon is on show until 26 November at Beetles + Huxley.

Lyon’s 1960s explorative imagery ranges from the iconic Civil Rights Movement, to the enigmatic lifestyles of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The Mayfair gallery will also exhibit an expansive project documenting the demonised lives of inmates within Texas prison structures of the late 1960s. This specific series was published by Lyon in the revolutionary book, Conversations with the Dead (1969).

Lyon is recognised for his strong involvement in the subjects of his work. Embodying a style that has often been described as ‘New Journalism’, he helped define an emerging era of unconventional reporting that began to take a subjective position, commonly favouring truth over fact. Lyon’s candid, off-guard shooting is combined with deep explorations of various sub cultures, minorities and social justice.

Whilst his work focuses on the rifts of the American Dream during the 1960s, it’s apparent that the issues and themes explored by Lyon are as important as they are today. Gallery director, Giles Huxley-Parlour, describes the arrival of the commission “at a time when American politics is front-page news, showing that many of the issues that Lyon has covered are longstanding and apparently yet to be resolved”. Lyon focuses on the outcasts, the un-documented and working with reality. His work rattles the cage of established American culture and challenges the responsibilities of documenting the truth.

Born in Brooklyn, USA, Danny Lyon received a BA in history from the University of Chicago in 1963. He has since received Guggenheim Fellowships in photography and filmmaking, a Rockefeller Fellowship, Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism and a Lucie Award.

Beetles + Huxley gallery is located at 3-5 Swallow Street, London, W1B 4DE. The gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10.00 – 17.30. Admission is free. for more information visit www.beetlesandhuxley.com

1. Danny Lyon, Crossing The Ohio, Louisville, 1966.