The Bikeriders – photography

Looking at the dusty glamour and studied insouciance of the subjects of The Bikeriders series, there’s a sense of timeless cool that belies the fact the images are all about 50 years old.

Racers, McHenry, Illinois
Racers, McHenry, Illinois

The photographs were taken by Danny Lyon between 1963 and 1967, and show an insider’s view of American biker culture, from the days even before Easy Rider brought the movement to the big screen.

Big Barbara, Chicago
Big Barbara, Chicago

Lyon’s career as a photographer began in the early 1960s, joining the University of Chicago’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as their first staff photographer.

In 1963, he joined the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club, befriending its members on rides and races, and ultimately using his art to demystify their often-misunderstood culture.

Racers, McHenry, Illinois
Racers, McHenry, Illinois

The Bikeriders series is now to go on show at London’s Atlas Gallery – the first time these images have been shown in the UK. The exhibition will feature 40 prints, with images from locations including Milwaukee, Long Island New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit. 

Clubhouse during the Columbus Run, Dayton, Ohio
Clubhouse during the Columbus Run, Dayton, Ohio

‘By befriending his subjects, Lyon… reveals the diverse characters and strong narratives of this hugely-stereotyped sub-culture’, says the gallery.

Cockroach and his family, Chicago
Cockroach and his family, Chicago

‘The body of work was instrumental in demystifying preconceptions surrounding biker culture and it remains a seminal work on the non-commercial face of 1960s America.’

Route 12, Wisconsin
Route 12, Wisconsin

The Bikeriders is on show from 19 June-16 August at Atlas Gallery, 49 Dorset Street, London W1U 7NF. All images © Danny Lyon, Courtesy of ATLAS Gallery London

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