“I’m trying to pump up the humanity.”
FIRST TRADE EDITION, DANNY LYON’S OWN ANNOTATED COPY.
This copy, Lyon's own, was sent to the former executive editor of Camera Arts, Fred Ritchen. Lyon's enclosed letter states, “I’ve marked some pages which I think makes a good progression over the years, showing a change in subject and style… For the most part I have also marked pictures that are less well known, and often have only appeared in print in this book. Nothing was run by any magazines when the hard back was printed… P.S. I’ll need this particular copy back when you’re done, as it is my own; though I’m sure I can get you another from Aperture” (December 17, 1982). The resultant May 1983 issue of Camera Arts is included, as is a provenance letter by Tom Ridinger, co-founder of Camera Arts, stating this “must be the rarest copy of Danny Lyon’s Pictures from the New World."
Lyon critiques his most famous subject in this copy, scrawling, “A BAD reproduction of my BEST picture Bike riders” (pg. 30). This copy features around a dozen pages with pencilled layout drawings and instructions, and over a dozen pages marked with Lyon’s original paper clips and sticky tabs.
Danny Lyon was a twentieth-century photographic luminary who released Pictures from the New World in 1981 on the dynamic work of his past eighteen years. In the introduction he writes, “In order to to make this book I have had to face directly everything I have done in photography…Now I give it back to you, America, from whom I took it all in the first place. The slate is clean, and I am free to begin again.”
“Among a group of revolutionaries whose work rose to prominence in the late 1960s and ’70s and transformed the nature of documentary photography — a group that includes friends and colleagues of Mr. Lyon’s like Mary Ellen Mark and Larry Clark — the idea of conscience has been imbedded more deeply in Mr. Lyon’s photographs than in those of all but a few of his contemporaries” (The New York Times April 24, 2009).
The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography recounts,“He was self-taught as a photographer and his first images document the social struggle. It was a pattern to be repeated throughout his career — to actively live with subgroups or participate with segments of society he would document. He became a member of a Chicago motorcycle gang, The Outlaws, before producing the book, The Bike Riders in 1968. Later he spent time with construction workers, stock care races, prison inmates, and peoples of the Third World to make his books and films” (pg. 268).
Millertown, NY: Aperture, 1981. Oblong quarto, original cloth, original dust jacket; custom silk box. Text block sprung from binding; very clean text. Dust jacket with only a centimeter closed tear and light toning. Also with: a letter from Danny Lyon about this copy, an additional letter of provenance from Tom Ridinger, and associated magazine copy. A significant ensemble illustrating Lyon's own assessment of his work.
Price: $6,500 .