Contributing to history has always been a strong motivator for Danny Lyon and the camera became his vehicle for capturing history. “You put a camera in my hand, I want to get close to people,” said Danny Lyon, “Not just physically close, emotionally close, all of it.” Born in Brooklyn, New York, the self-taught photojournalist studied philosophy and history at the University of Chicago. Lyon headed from academia straight into the action on the front lines of the civil rights movement as the first staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1962 to 1964.

One of the best-known photojournalists today, during his fifty-year career Lyon produced numerous books and nonfiction films that captured politically-charged subjects, ranging from the bikers in the Chicago Outlaw Motor Cycle Club and prisoners in a Texas prison to the razing of Lower Manhattan in 1966–1967 and the 1986 Haitian Revolution. The photograph shown here, taken at the March on Washington, once served as the image for a SNCC poster. It shows the assertive stance of SNCC's youthful members and their chairman John Lewis, whose speech was toned down by march organizers before he deliver it.

Danny Lyon. The March on Washington, August, 28, 1963, from the portfolio Twenty-five Photographs from the Southern Civil Rights Movement. Gelatin silver print, printed 1994. Gift of Emory E. and Virginia Drexler Clark. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (023.00.00) Web use only.
© Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos. Courtesy Edwynn Houl Gallery and