Danny Lyon: The Bikeriders

This is a book by Danny Lyon called The Bikeriders.

It’s a body of work documenting the lives of a group of bikriders from 1963 to 1967 with the aim to glorify the lives of these people.

Book Cover

I chose this book as I remember it being one of the first photobooks that I properly sat down and read. It clarified to me the importance of seeing a body of work in its entirety, because you feel so much more grounded and knowledgeable about the work. Especially in a body of work like this where there are so many different aspects to this community in terms of characters and environments, that you might not expect to find.

Some  of my favourite images of the series are those that don’t meet the expectations of the viewer, they challenge them instead. I’ve chosen one image from the series that I think epitomises this point that a body of work can re-frame your perspective of something, which is displayed below. It’s titled “Cockroach and His Family”, Cockroach is photographed outside of their suburban looking house with his wife and child, which for me sums up this bizarre juxtaposition of a person called cockroach having something so mundane and intimate. It’s also a good example of how Danny Lyon chose to photograph the lives in the background of the typically expected representation of the bikeriders. This is a vantage point he managed to gain by fully immersing himself in the community.

Cockroach and His Family

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