About this artwork
In the summer of 1965, having graduated two years earlier from the University of Chicago, Danny Lyon traveled on his Triumph motorcycle from his home in Hyde Park to Chicago’s tough Uptown neighborhood. The area had acquired the nickname Hillbilly Heaven for its large number of immigrants from central Appalachia. Over a period of several months, Lyon photographed residents of Uptown’s Clifton Avenue using a Rolleiflex camera borrowed from his close friend and mentor Hugh Edwards, then a photography curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Lyon gained the trust of several families, resulting in images that depict struggles but also immense community pride: “paradise inside a square,” as the photographer said, referencing the camera’s square format. In 1966 Lyon wrote of the project, “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.”
Currently Off View
- Photography and Media
- Danny Lyon
- Uptown, Chicago
- United States
- Made 1965
- Gelatin silver print, No. 2 from the portfolio "Danny Lyon" (1979)
- Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, lower left, in graphite: "2"; signed verso, lower right, in graphite: "Danny Lyon"
- 24.6 × 24.4 cm (image); 35.4 × 27.7 cm (paper)
- Gift of Frederick M. and Elizabeth L. Myers