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

 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. 
 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 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. 
 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. 
 As a child I had been so afraid of so many things, but as soon as I held a camera in my hand, I began to expose myself to the very things that were foreign to me and that I had always feared. 
 I was a bike rider, a photographer and a history student, probably in that order. (On his early years) 
 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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