Topic: [The Guardian] Danny Lyon’s best photograph: two boys and a puppy in Knoxville  (Read 264 times)

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Danny Lyon’s best photograph: two boys and a puppy in Knoxville

‘It’s an emotional picture. The dog looks hurt, the kid looks hurt and the car won’t start’

I travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1967 to visit the home of the late novelist and critic James Agee. Nobody, until maybe Susan Sontag, understood photography better than him. I went to the block where he grew up and found his house has been demolished and replaced by a condominium, an extraordinarily ugly, two-storey brick building with a wrought iron entrance. It was a horror of architecture.

I spotted these two boys at the end of the street and I knew I had found my subject. But you don’t just creep up and take a picture, so I got talking to them. One of the boys was a mechanic, and they wanted to go for a drive around town but the car wouldn’t start. It was a beautiful machine, all heavy steel and chrome from an era when American cars were just astounding.

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