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         BILLY  McCUNE     
         born 1928

billy mccune

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In 1968, while engaged in a project to document the grim reality of life within the Texas prison system, photographer Danny Lyon met Billy McCune, an inmate serving a life sentence. Through visits and exchanges of correspondence, Lyon and McCune forged a bond that led to a unique artistic collaboration. With Lyon's encouragement, McCune wrote movingly of his years of imprisonment and filled his letters with scores of colorful drawings. McCune's letters and images proved so affecting that Lyon incorporated them in Conversations with the Dead—the 1970 exhibition of his Texas prison photographs. As ARTnews noted in its review, "Lyon wanted McCune to share this occasion about prisons, to give utterance from behind bars that might articulate more than the lens could see." Lyon photographed McCune in his nine-by-five-foot cell in the Wynne Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections.

Danny Lyon (born 1942)
Gelatin silver print, 1968
Published December 1970
Danny Lyon; courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City

©Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos
(Printable page)

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