Jun 18, 2018

Clearing the Land, Ellis Unit, Texas

Conversations with the Dead: Photographs of Prison Life with the Letters and Drawings of Billy McCune

Clearing the Land, Ellis Unit, Texas

1967–69, printed 1979

Danny Lyon

(American, 1942-)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 22.2 x 33 cm (8 3/4 x 13 in.); Paper: 27.7 x 35.4 cm (10 7/8 x 13 15/16 in.)

Gift of Alan and Monah L. Gettner 2017.255



In 1967, Lyon received permission to photograph, without restriction, inside the Texas prison system. He spent 14 months visiting six prisons, getting to know the inmates and viewing, although not personally experiencing, almost every aspect of prison life. Ellis Unit, a prison farm, housed those believed to be the most dangerous and difficult criminals.

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