The Americans: A Brooklyn Summer, 1974

Danny Lyon: Turn of the Century Brownstone Apartments, Brooklyn, 1974

Danny Lyon: Life on Bond Street in Brooklyn, 1974

Danny Lyon: Boy Against Yellow Platform, Kosciusko Swimming Pool, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, 1974

Danny Lyon: Children at Reis Park, a Public Beach in Brooklyn, 1974

Danny Lyon: People Watch Boats on the East River, Manhattan Bridge and NYC in the Background, 1974

The Americans: A Brooklyn Summer, 1974

A Brooklyn Summer, 1974 is a beautiful collection of vintage photos of Brooklyn taken in the summer of 1974 by photographer Danny Lyon, and the vintage tone of these summertime photographs makes everything look so much hotter. Lyon spent two months snapping pictures of the daily life in the borough, exploring Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Green, Park Slope and other neighborhoods. Lyon captured the photographs of inner-city life while on assignment for Documerica, a project of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life in the 1970s.

Born in 1942 in Brooklyn, Danny Lyon received a BA from the University of Chicago in 1973. In the 1960s and 1970s, Lyon made a name for himself covering life in Chicago’s impoverished Uptown neighborhood and the Southern Civil Rights movement. Lyon went on to give the world three incredible works: The Bikeriders, in which he chronicled 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 photographed and wrote about Texas inmates in 6 different prisons.

Lyon’s work has been frequently exhibited and collected; he is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts grants in both film and photography.

You can read more about Danny Lyon’s work in The New York Times here.

The Museum of Photographic Arts: A Look at Danny Lyon

Photo-Gallery: A Brooklyn Summer, 1974

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Jasper, Texas: The Hidden Half of a Small Texas Town

Parade, 1950s

J.H. Rowe High School Marching Band Led by Annie Clyde Dacus, ca. 1958-59

Jesse Brook (Second From Left) and Others Dancing, 1950s

Wedding Preparations, Bonnie Mitchell and Her Sister Ida Mae Mitchell, 1957

James Byrd Jr. (central portrait), 1967 Graduate of J. H. Rowe High School

Jasper, Texas: The Hidden Half of a Small Texas Town

In 1998, the small East Texas town of Jasper was shaken by the brutal, racially motivated killing of a forty-nine-year old African American named James Byrd Jr. The international coverage of that traumatic race-crime did not, for the most part, reveal the stark past and complicated social life of this historically segregated community. For example, little notice was paid to the photographs of Alonzo Jordan (1903-1984), a local photographer who had made Byrd’s high school graduation portrait, and who had worked for more than forty years to document African Americans in Jasper and in the surrounding rural areas. Jordan’s photographs are the subject of an exhibition, Jasper, Texas: The Community Photographs of Alonzo Jordan, presently on view at The International Center of Photography in New York City from January 21 to May 8, 2011.

Like many small-town photographers, Alonzo Jordan fulfilled various roles in the community. A barber by trade, Alonzo Jordan was also a Prince Hall Mason, a deacon in his church, an educator and a local leader, who took up photography to fill a social need he recognized. Over the years, he chronicled the everyday world of black East Texas, especially the civic events and social rituals that were integral to the daily life of the people he served. In addition to revealing the African American culture of Jasper during the Civil Rights era, this exhibition challenges existing formalistic approaches to the study of vernacular photography. It considers Jordan’s distinguished career as a “community photographer.”

In communities across the nation, photographs of this kind have been proudly displayed for decades in people’s homes, local churches, businesses, civic buildings and schools, because they document groups and individuals who are held in high esteem. Frequently, the photographer is not identified or credited, because the emphasis is upon the family, social and professional groups, and the recognition of the community infrastructure.

Jasper’s Journey: The Life of James Byrd Jr.

Slide Show: Jasper, Texas/The Hidden Half of a Small Texas Town

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