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Uptown, Chicago

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Danny Lyon
American, born 1942

About this artwork

In the summer of 1965, having graduated two years earlier from the University of Chicago, Danny Lyon traveled on his Triumph motorcycle from his home in Hyde Park to Chicago’s tough Uptown neighborhood. The area had acquired the nickname Hillbilly Heaven for its large number of immigrants from central Appalachia. Over a period of several months, Lyon photographed residents of Uptown’s Clifton Avenue using a Rolleiflex camera borrowed from his close friend and mentor Hugh Edwards, then a photography curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lyon gained the trust of several families, resulting in images that depict struggles but also immense community pride: “paradise inside a square,” as the photographer said, referencing the camera’s square format. In 1966 Lyon wrote of the project, “The pictures are not made to disturb people’s consciences but rather to disturb their consciousness. The pictures do not ask you to ‘help’ these people, but something much more difficult; to be briefly and intensely aware of their existence, an existence as real and significant as your own.”

Currently Off View

Photography and Media


Danny Lyon


Uptown, Chicago




Made 1965


Gelatin silver print


No markings recto or verso


26 × 26 cm (image/paper); 56 × 46 cm (mount)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. Danny Lyon

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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