This exhibition of more than 60 photographs and photographic montages from 1962 to the present traces the fascinating and wide-ranging career of Danny Lyon. A leading and explosive figure in the American street photography movement of the 1960s, Lyon distinguished himself from his peers through his direct engagement with his subjects and his concern for those on the margins of society.
His goal, he says, was “to destroy Life magazine” by presenting powerful alternatives to the bland pictures and stories that permeated American mass media in the late 1950s, when he came of age. In the process, he created numerous photographs striking psychological, political, and aesthetic power.
Lyon began his career while a student at the University of Chicago. In 1962, after seeing an image of University of Michigan student newspaper editor and activist Tom Hayden being beaten during a voter registration drive, he hitchhiked to the segregated South to try his hand at photojournalism. In the 1970s, Lyon started to divide his time between New York City and Bernalillo, New Mexico, where he photographed his mostly Chicano neighbors and his own growing family.
The exhibition title comes from a hymn of the same name that Lyon recalls singing with a friend one night on a Chicago beach in 1963. The friend passed away shortly afterwards. A lightning tour through an inspired photographic life, This World is Not My Home celebrates 50 years of Lyon’s unique, self-described “romantic realism.”
The exhibition is organized by the Menil Collection, Houston. Its presentation in San Francisco is generously supported by the Pritzker Fund for Photography.