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Photographing the Civil Rights Movement: Danny Lyon and Julian Bond

This post was originally published January 20, 2014. We’re resurfacing it now to honor Julian Bond in the wake of his death on August 15, 2015.—The Proof Team

Photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon was the keynote speaker at the 2014 National Geographic Photography Seminar—an annual celebration of photography held at the society’s headquarters in Washington.

Lyon captured some of the civil rights movement’s most compelling moments, from the March on Washington, to the aftermath of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. For other projects, he immersed himself deeply with his subjects—including the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, and death-row prisoners in Texas.

Lyon was interviewed at the seminar by Julian Bond—a politician, professor, writer, and civil rights leader. The two first met in the 1960s when Lyon became the photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Chicago. Bond was one of the founding members.

Part of Lyon and Bond’s discussion focused on their involvement in the early civil rights movement. Here, we bring you an excerpt of that conversation, which took place on Jan. 9th.

Danny Lyon has won two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and ten National Endowment for the Arts awards. He is affiliated with Magnum Photos, and his work has appeared at MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Center for Creative Photography.

You can watch Lyon’s full keynote address here. Also, visit his website, blog, and view a selection of his work from ‘The Bikeriders’ project. Lyon’s work is also currently on exhibit through Feb. 14, at the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York.


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