November 23, 2013

Photo Exhibition: Danny Lyon, Foto Colectania Foundation, Barcelona

Photo Exhibition: Danny Lyon 
Foto Colectania Foundation, Barcelona 
Through April 17, 2014

The Foto Colectania Foundation, Barcelona, exhibits three iconic series of the photographer DANNY LYON

Danny Lyon is considered one of the most influential and original documentary photographers of the 20th century. His work highlights for the special involvement he demonstrated with the communities he photographed in the United States. With works from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection, the Foto Colectania Foundation exhibits in Barcelona three of his most iconic series, "Conversations with the Dead" (1971) where he reveals the situation of Texas state prisons in the late sixties, "The Bikeriders" (1967), showing the lives of the American Midwest bikers, and "Uptown" (1965), which reflects the life of the immigrant neighborhood in northern Chicago. This exhibition dedicated to Danny Lyon is presented in two consecutive shows at Foto Colectania: "Conversations with the Dead" from the 18th October to the 18th January 2014, and "The Bikeriders" and "Uptown" from the 23th January to the 17th April 2014.

Danny Lyon is one of the main promoters of the "New Journalism" and he is also one of the representatives of the "concerned photographers". As it happens with Robert Frank and William Klein, his series and books, beyond seeking only political commitment, show that the author is more important than the subject. Furthermore, in the case of Danny Lyon the photographic practice as a personal learning process and the desire to live the experiences outside the official story are characteristics reflected in all his work.

Danny Lyon: Conversations with the Dead
through January 18, 2014

USA. Huntsville, Texas. 1968. 
Ferguson, a prison farm for young men ages seventeen to twenty one.
© Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos, courtesy Edwyn Houk Gallery, New York

This series composed of 76 photographs illustrates a fourteen month period between 1967 and 1968 in which Danny Lyon photographed six prisons in the state of Texas. The photographer wanted to transmit by his snapshots that the penal system of this state is a symbol for incarceration globally: “I tried with whatever power I had to make a picture of imprisonment as distressing as I knew it to be in reality”.

USA. Huntsville, Texas. 1968. 
The Walls is a walled penitentiary, it is the oldest unit of the system and is located near the center of the town of Huntsville. Cell block table. 
© Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos, courtesy Edwyn Houk Gallery, New York

The project, which was done with the full cooperation of the Texas Department of Corrections and was published in 1971, reveals a new and distinctive approach as the images are interspersed with texts from various sources, letters, works by the convicts and even fiction. 

Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders / Uptown 
from January 23 through April 17, 2014

USA. Louisville, Kentucky. 1966. 
Crossing the Ohio.
© Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos, courtesy Edwyn Houk Gallery, New York

From January on, Foto Colectania will exhibit another two very emblematic portfolios by Danny Lyon:

The series "The Bikeriders" (whose book was published in 1967), is based on the life of the American midwest bikers from 1963 to 1967. In these four years, Danny Lyon went beyond mere documentation and traveled the roads as a member of the motorcycle club known as the Chicago Outlaws, sharing their lifestyle. The series, which got great popularity in the 60s and 70s, is "an attempt to record and glorify the life of the American bikerider", according to the author. As he says, "(the bikeriders) is the personal record, dealing mostly with bikeriders whom I know and care for. If anything has guided this work beyond the facts of the worlds presented it is what I have come to believe is the spirit of the bikeriders: the spirit of the hand that twists open the throttle on the crackling engines of big bikes and rides them on racetracks or through traffic or, on occasion, into oblivion.” 

USA. Chicago. 1965. 
Uptown. Three young men.
© Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos, courtesy Edwyn Houk Gallery, New York

The strength transmitted by Danny Lyon's photographs already exists in his first series as the one made in Chicago’s neighborhood called Uptown, which gives its name to the series "Uptown" (1965). In the mid-60s Lyon portrayed recent immigrants from the Appalachia and the southern America. The photographer describes that his intention was to give visibility to people who never would have it if it was not for his images. In the author's words: “To freeze from time some moments, some gestures, a face, to be looked upon forever or a brief while by those who will never see it if it is not shown. The pictures are not made to disturb people’s consciences but rather to disturb their consciousness. The pictures do not ask you to “help” these people, but something much more difficult; to be briefly and intensely aware of their existence, an existence as real and significant as your own”. 

Fundació Foto Colectania
Julián Romea, 6 - 08017 Barcelona, Spain

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