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Contents of arriving prisoner's wallet

1967-1969

  • Medium

    Gelatin silver print

  • Dimensions

    11 x 13 15/16 in. (27.94 x 35.37 cm)Image: 8 1/8 x 12 in. (20.64 x 30.48 cm)

  • Credit

    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Photography Collection

  • Accession number

    95.43.4

  • Object label

    ​Danny Lyon’s photographs show no interest in objective reporting. Rather, his practice of social justice-minded “advocacy journalism” is opposed to the idea of journalistic neutrality and to mass-media journalism generally. In 1967, after years of documenting the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights organization of which he was an early member, Lyon moved to a Texas farm to photograph the daily lives of inmates in a nearby state prison complex. The men are young, handsome, and loved, as the image of family pictures from one inmate’s wallet demonstrates. That is, they are specific individuals otherwise made anonymous by the penal institution. In New arrivals from Corpus Christi, Lyon does not criminalize or demonize his two subjects. Rather, he captures them in a quiet, relaxed moment, letting viewers see the people beneath the standard-issue prison uniforms.