%C2%A9 Danny Lyon. All rights reserved.

Guns are Passed to Picket Tower; The Line Returns From Work, Texas Department of Corrections, c. 1968

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For fourteen months, Danny Lyon immersed himself in the Texas prison system, and he produced the body of work published as the book titled Conversations with the Dead. His goal was to build an intimate visual narrative around the prison system.

Contrary to a philosophy of standard documentary photography, which emphasizes distance (emotional or otherwise) from the subject, in these pictures, Lyon encourages an emotional connection with the men he photographed. He grew to know many of the prisoners well and continued to correspond with some of them after the project was complete.
Lyon wrote in the forward to his book that he had tried “to make a picture of imprisonment as distressing as I knew it to be.” In particular, in Lyon’s writings, he calls attention to the fact that many of the prisoners were serving extended sentences for non-violent drug offenses or for having a same-sex relationship.

Guns are Passed to Picket Tower; The Line Returns From Work, Texas Department of Corrections
Artist Life
born 1942
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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© Danny Lyon. All rights reserved.

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