Danny Lyon
[Photographer, b. 1942, New York, lives in Ulster County, New York.]

 I feel totally responsible for what I see. I feel totally responsible for what I photograph. 
 The use of the camera has always been for me a tool of investigation, a reason to travel, to not mind my own business, and often to get into trouble. 
 The sign at the entrance to my gym locker room says, “no cell phones please, cell phones are cameras.” They are not. A camera is a Nikon or a Leica or Rolleiflex, and when you strike someone with one, they know they have been hit with something substantial. 
 [The people who run things] are so successful in the way they do it now. They could buy me off with a couple of vintage prints, they could have you do an ad, or give you a ribbon... In capitalist countries they reward artists because we’re ineffectual. 
 I was a bike rider, a photographer and a history student, probably in that order. (On his early years) 
 You put a camera in my hand, I want to get close to people. Not physically close, emotionally close, all of it. It’s part of the process. It’s a very weird thing being a photographer. 
 I wanted to change history and preserve humanity. But in the process I changed myself and preserved my own. 
 The pictures do not ask you to “help” these people, but something much more difficult; to be briefly, intensely aware of their existence, an existence as real and significant as your own. 
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