Nathan Lyons 1930-2016

I am deeply saddened that my dear friend and unofficial mentor Nathan Lyons passed away last night.

I was very fortunate to spend some time with Nathan this summer in Rochester, where we looked through stacks upon stacks of his photographs together that he had been recently making for a new book. At 86, he was working harder and more enthusiastically than some of my students, though health problems plagued him.

As an artist, Nathan deeply and profoundly believed in the field and devoted his life to making it richer and more inclusive. His trilogy of eloquent photo books starting with Notations in Passing, visualized his roots as a poet and philosopher, his hopes and fears about the world and his sly humor that was always simmering just below the surface.

As an educator, Nathan was able to communicate this to so many. Adam Weinberg, Director of the Whitney, Buzz Hartshorn, previous Director of ICP, Curator Anne Tucker, photographer Mark Klett, among many, many others, were all students of Nathan. He was founder of SPE, and with Jim Enyeart, founded Oracle, the collective of photo curators around the world. So many were enriched by his teaching, both in and out of the classroom.

Nathan was such an amazing man; a great photographer, a thoughtful and compassionate human being, who taught me so much about photography and how to be one.

Nathan is indelibly part of who I am as an artist and educator. He will be profoundly missed.


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