Danny Lyon (b. 1942) is an American photographer and filmmaker.
Lyon was born in 1942 in Brooklyn, New York and is the son of Russian-Jewish mother and German-Jewish father. He was raised in Kew Gardens, Queens, and went on to study history and philosophy at the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963.That same year, he published his first photographs working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. His pictures appeared in The Movement, a documentary book about the Civil Rights Movement in the southern region of the United States. After being accepted as the photographer for Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lyon was present at almost all of the major historical events during the Civil Rights Movement.
Later, Lyon began creating his own books. His first, was a study of outlaw motorcyclists in the collection The Bikeriders (1968), where Lyon photographed motorcyclists in the American Midwest from 1963 to 1967. He became a member of the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club and traveled with them in "an attempt to record and glorify the life of the American bikerider." The series was immensely popular and influential in the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1970s, he also contributed to the Environmental Protection Agency's DOCUMERICA project.
The Destruction of Lower Manhattan (1969) was Lyon's next work. The book documents the large-scale demolition taking place throughout Lower Manhattan in 1967. Included are photographs of soon to be demolished streets and buildings, portraits of the neighborhood's last remaining stragglers and pictures from within the demolition sites themselves. Conversations with the Dead (1971) was published with full cooperation of the Texas Department of Corrections. The book also includes texts taken from prison records, letters from convicts, and inmate artwork. All of Lyon's publications work in the style of photographic New Journalism, meaning that the photographer has become immersed, and is a participant, of the documented subject.