Assuming a variety of roles, resembling sociologist, ethnographer, anthropologist, observer, commentator, poet, essayist, and historian, Nathan Lyons shows us overt and hidden dimensions of material culture and belief systems. The photographs and the books of photographs offer his views of the social world surrounding us in ever closer, intimately tighter encircling realities.
Lyons' photographic sequences are a turning point in the possibilities for visual literature. They demonstrate–achieve–an evolution in visual thinking and its expression that attains a density and complexity of allusion. Respect, sometimes admiration, for the dignity and ambiguity of individual voices inscribed on the surface of our world tells us about our world and helps shape our conception of how things are.
An exhibition of the work in Return Your Mind will be opening at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery on October 30th, 2014.
Return Your Mind to Its Upright Position is the fourth volume in an extended sequence of 588 images begun in the early 1960s. The three previous books are:
Nathan Lyons has been an integral part of almost every area of photography as photographer, educator, lecturer, author, and curator. He is Founding Director Emeritus, Visual Studies Workshop (1969-2001) and Distinguished Professor Emeritus, SUNY Brockport. He holds Honorary Doctorates from Rhode Island School of Design (2004), Corcoran School of Art (1995), and Alfred University (2006), and was named Honored Educator, Society for Photographic Education (1997). Lyons was Associate Director and Curator of Photography, Editor of Publications, and Director of Extension Activities at the George Eastman House (1961-1969). He was a founder and first chairman of the Society for Photographic Education, and initiated the formation of Oracle, an annual meeting of photographic curators. Lyons has exhibited extensively since 1956 with work represented in numerous collections. He was the recipient of the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement in Photography (2000) and Friends of Photography Peer Awards in Creative Photography Award for Distinguished Career in Photography (1989).