‘Self-taught, and driven by his twin passions for social change and the medium of photography, the power of Lyon’s work has often derived from his willingness [to] immerse himself entirely in the cultures and communities he documents’ (houkgallery.com, 2018).
Lyon, 1966. Crossing the Ohio River
The Bikeriders is a series of texts interwoven with images made by Lyon’s during his time with the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club from 1963 to 1967.
A variety of texts are incorporated into the body of work, ranging from transcribed statements made by members of the Outlaws, to newspaper cuttings collected into scrapbooks also belonging to the motorcyclists.
Lyon’s photography, which is outstanding, speaks for itself. And yet the textual elements provide an additional layer of context, helping the viewer understand more about the particular circumstances which relate to this specific group of subjects.
It is the use of text, and the manner of its use, which is a feature shared by Lyon’s work and my own photographic practice.
Jo-Ana is a series of images which visually describe the diaries of an anorexic. Still life images of food and text combine as a body of work to provide a narrative of an individual becoming ill, of acceptance, and recovery.
Whilst the series of images alone tell the story, statements made by the diarist and the photographer help provide further context.
It is the supplementation of image with text that allow the viewer a deeper insight to a more nuanced narrative.
Every anorexia sufferer’s story is unique. Jo’s Statement helps bring out the uniqueness of this particular individual’s story whilst an Artist’s Statement helps provide context regarding the project’s creation.
It is this uniqueness and context that is important if we are to focus on the people and not just the illness.
Houkgallery.com, 2018. ‘Danny Lyon’. Edwin Houk Gallery [online]. Available at: http://www.houkgallery.com/artists/danny-lyon (accessed Thursday 28 June 2018)