Phaidon photographer Danny Lyon has been awarded the prestigious Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism - previously recipients include Winston Churchill in 1960 and legendary CBS news anchor, Walter Cronkite, in 1963.
Danny, who’s documented the plight of the outsider since the early 60s will receive the honour in October alongside this year’s other winners who include US Esquire editor David Granger, long running US investigative TV documentary series Frontline and Margaret Wolf Freivogel, the founding editor of the St. Louis Beacon.
Danny was on his ranch in New Mexico when we called to congratulate him. "It is gratifying to me that this is an award in journalism. The actual category is 'media leader' - of all things! This is a contemporary term. It supports what I have done with The Bikeriders and Deep Sea Diver. My work is about reshaping the media and redefining journalism. Truth is beauty and beauty is truth. I'm pleased that they have recognised this form of work as journalism, as it should be."
Danny Lyon single-handedly invented a photographic style that eventually became known as ‘the new journalism’. Irritated by the stage-managed style of most photography when he began his career he chose instead to hang out with those on the fringes of society, often spending years in close quarters with his subjects.
His early work embodied the counterculture spirit. One project saw him becoming a member of the Chicago outlaw motorcycle club, travelling with the group and taking part in their activities. In the early Seventies he spent more than a year photographing convicts in six Texas prisons. He added to an incredible body of work this year by publishing Deep Sea Diver a self-assembled photo report of his journeys though China.