Photographer Daniel Jack Lyons for Amazon Youth Photography

Between 2019 and 2021, Leon completed his residency and made two more long trips to Brazil, where he worked mostly in the city of Carrero, to connect with those who would become his future subjects. On his second visit, he taught a week-long photography and storytelling course to indigenous land activists to use the medium as a tool in their advocacy.

“The experience of using societal methodologies has had a profound impact on my photography practice. [The portraits] It started with a big meeting where I met the young leaders of the community. I introduced myself and the intentions of this project, showed examples of my work, and wrote my name and phone number on a whiteboard. I made it clear that this has to be a collaboration, I only go where I’m invited, and eventually I want to hang out before we take pictures together. Lyons said the response was overwhelming, and everyone wanted to get involved.

“As a general rule, I never photograph a person the day I meet them,” he continued.

Wendell in the cloudsWritten by Daniel Jack Lyons.

This devotion to knowing his subjects before he portrayed them resulted in a clear familiarity with his work. The images appear to be honest representations of the subjects, creating a serious image in every image. “In my first encounters with people, I always made it clear that these pictures could end up in a book or gallery, and I encouraged people to think about how and where they would like to be photographed — how they want to be seen,” he said.

The idea of ​​depicting someone how they want to be seen is a central idea in Lyons’ work. While a sense of true relief is present, many of his subjects appear to be self-conscious. “The majority of collaborators wanted to be portrayed in nature. With every community or group of friends I worked with, everyone had cross-identities so complex that conversations often revolved around finding a way to accurately represent this. However, the commonalities of all – Whether they were Aboriginal land activists, skaters, rappers, drag queens, etc. – it was a very personal and intimate relationship with nature, especially [Tupana] River.”

The President’s Daughter 2Written by Daniel Jack Lyons.

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