ICONIC AMERICAN IMAGES BY DANNY LYON | THE BIKERIDERS AND BEYOND

ohio river danny lyon

“Crossing the Ohio River” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1966

In the 1960s & 70s, writer and photographer Danny Lyon made a name for himself covering the Southern Civil Rights movement, and  went on to give the world 3 incredible works– The Bikeriders, in which he chronicles his travels as a member of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, The Destruction of Lower Manhattan, documenting the large-scale demolition of our country’s greatest city back in 1967, and Conversations with the Dead in which he photographs and writes about Texas inmatess in 6 different prisons, Billy McCune in particular, over 14 months time. Danny Lyon’s images are iconic, and he is considered by many as the gold standard for motorcycle photography to this day.

“If ‘The Wild One’ were filmed today, Marlon Brando and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club would all have to wear helmets. I used to be afraid that when (Hells) Angels became movie stars and Cal the hero of the book, the bikerider would perish on the coffee tables of America. But now I think that this attention doesn’t have the strength of reality of the people it aspires to know, and that as long as Harley-Davidsons are manufactured other bikeriders will appear, riding unknown and beautiful through Chicago, into the streets of Cicero.” –Danny Lyon

Danny Lyon The Bikeriders

“Cal, Elkhorn, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Route 12, Wisconsin" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon.

“Route 12, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1963

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from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon

“Racer, Schererville, Indiana” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

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"From Lindsey's room, Louisville" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1966.

“From Lindsey’s room, Louisville” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1966

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"Racers, McHenry, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Racers, McHenry, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

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"Goodpaster, Hobart, Indiana" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Goodpaster, Hobart, Indiana” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

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"Field meet, Long Island, New York" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Field meet, Long Island, New York” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66.

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"Racers, McHenry, Illinois" from the Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Racers, McHenry, Illinois” from the Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

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"Broken gear box spring, New Orleans" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Broken gear box spring, New Orleans” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

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"Torello Tachhi's back, Loudon, New Hampshire" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1963-66.

“Torello Tachhi’s back, Loudon, New Hampshire” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1963-66

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"Seventeenth Annual World's Largest Motorcycle Blessing, St. Christopher Shrine, Midlothian, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon.

“Seventeenth Annual World’s Largest Motorcycle Blessing, St. Christopher Shrine, Midlothian, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon

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"Corky at home" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Corky at home” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Jack, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Jack, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, 1965

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New York Eddie's, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“New York Eddie’s, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Andy, meeting at the the Stoplight, Cicero, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa

“Andy, meeting at the the Stoplight, Cicero, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Benny, Grand and Division, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Benny, Grand and Division, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"From Dayton to Columbus, Ohio" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“From Dayton to Columbus, Ohio” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Memorial Day run, Milwaukee" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon   --circa 1965-66.

“Memorial Day run, Milwaukee” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Brucie, his CH, and Crazy Charlie, McHenry, Illinois"  from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Brucie, his CH, and Crazy Charlie, McHenry, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Cal, Springfield, Illinois" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Cal, Springfield, Illinois” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Big Barbara, Chicago" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Big Barbara, Chicago” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconsin” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Clubhouse during the Columbus run, Dayton, Ohio"  from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Clubhouse during the Columbus run, Dayton, Ohio” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Funny Sonny packing with Zipco, Milwaukee" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Funny Sonny packing with Zipco, Milwaukee” from The Bikeriders by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1965-66

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"Chopper, Milwaukee" fro The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon  --circa 1965-66.

“Chopper, Milwaukee” fro The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon, ca. © 1965-66

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Four boys, Uptown, Chicago" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1968.

“Four boys, Uptown, Chicago” Pictures from The New World by © Danny Lyon, 1968

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"Three young men, Uptown, Chicago" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Three young men, Uptown, Chicago” Pictures from The New World by © Danny Lyon, 1965

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"Chevrolet Nueva Casas Grande, Chuhuahua, Mexico" from The Paper Negative by Danny Lyon  --1975.

“Chevrolet Nueva Casas Grande, Chuhuahua, Mexico” from The Paper Negative by © Danny Lyon, 1975

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"Truck in the Desert, Yuma, California" Pictures from the New World by Danny Lyon  --1962.

“Truck in the Desert, Yuma, California” Pictures from the New World by © Danny Lyon, 1962

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"New arrivals from Corpus Christi" from Conversations with the Dead by Danny Lyon  --circa 1967-68.

“New arrivals from Corpus Christi” from Conversations with the Dead by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1967-68

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"Hoe sharpener and the Line" from Conversations with the Dead by Danny Lyon  --circa 1967-68.

“Hoe sharpener and the Line” from Conversations with the Dead by © Danny Lyon, ca. 1967-68

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"Young man, Hyde Park, Chicago" from Toward a Social Landscape by Danny Lyon  --1965.

“Young man, Hyde Park, Chicago” from Toward a Social Landscape by © Danny Lyon, 1965

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21 thoughts on “ICONIC AMERICAN IMAGES BY DANNY LYON | THE BIKERIDERS AND BEYOND

  1. Hi there,
    very nice blog this is. the book looks amazing. from when is it? do you know if it still is available?

    I would like to suggest to you my book. it is called ‘Hopped-Up’ . it is a fine-art photography book about the European culture of Hot Rodding and the lifestyle of the American ’50s. check it out if you like: http://www.HOPPED-UP.COM

    tried to subscribe to your blog but it seems that it’s complicated and needs another plattform to registrate. so I follow you on twitter…

    all the best
    +rnr
    david

  2. I’ve got to say, I love this blog. Been coming back almost every day for a month or so now. Found it by searching for James Dean related pages. Don’t ever stop posting.

  3. I HATE YOUR SITE!

    No, not really. I think it actually gets better every week, if that’s possible. How great is this damn book? Hate to say it, but I actually first saw it, and bought it at the …marc jacobs, store years ago. I swear the spine is broken and page corners are turned down like my sister’s 5th grade math book. The edition at the MJ store was hard-bound and came signed with some original prints in a black box. I think you can still hunt it down. Be good, y’all.

  4. I want a reprint of the guy on the bridge…I’m from Louisville and recognized it instantly. Pretty awesome B&W photos, a genre that kids won’t recognize. Everything has to be in color for the youngins to enjoy…

  5. Awesome pics! Reminds me of the good ol’ days when bikers were on the fringes of society, rather than wimpy lawyers, dentists, etc. dressing up to emulate them.

    Nowadays it seems, apparently all one needs to do to be a biker is to buy the gear and look the part. Even the tats are mainstream. I believe it loses something when it becomes mainstream.

  6. This reminds me of my younger days… Meeting on Sunday at Western and Lawrence at the Califorian restaurant to ride with all the bikes to the rally at 139th and the Calumet.. Ribs, Beer,Bikes and BIKE GAMES…. AND WE ALL GOT ALONG !!!

  7. I really like the Bikeriders photographs, specially the women riders. There’s one of 3 shots of the female riders that I particularly like, “Big Barbara, Chicago” The use of light and the framing are excellent.

    I stumbled upon your blog just a little while ago from a Live Journal posting in the motorcycles community, and I thank you for the work you’ve done here. Sometimes I think the older, black and white photographs have more power and presentation than the current digital photographs do.

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  10. awesome collection,in particular ‘crossing ohio river’,’jack chicago,in coffee bar’ and ‘benny,grand and division,chicago’. these particular photo’s have become iconic within the world of the Outlaw mc,who have become one of the most respected clubs worldwide.

  11. don’t even know how i got here, wandering aimlessly probably. like turning the corner and catching a beautiful sunset. wonderful site. thanks for doing this.

  12. The Memphis band Lucero wrote a damn good song based on this book. “Benny” is one of the characters:

  13. Pingback: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF SCOTT POMMIER | EPIC IMAGES OF MODERN AMERICANA « The Selvedge Yard

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