Nathan Myron Lyons was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York on January 10, 1930. In 1950, he enlisted in the Air Force as a photographer and served in a photo intelligence unit in Korea, where he helped establish a mobile photographic reconnaissance unit. On returning to the United States, he worked as a photographer and news writer at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia. After leaving the Air Force in 1954, he received a degree in English from Alfred University in 1957. He was a photographer, curator, teacher, writer, and editor. In 1957, he was hired by the George Eastman House as director of public information and the assistant editor of Image magazine. He was named assistant director in 1960 and associate director in 1965. After leaving the Eastman House in 1969, he created the Visual Studies Workshop, which offered graduate classes in the theory, history and practice of photography to photographers, teachers, and curators. He directed it for more than 30 years. His work was exhibited in galleries and major museums including MoMA. He was the editor of Photographers on Photography: A Critical Anthology. He published several photo collections including Notations in Passing, Riding 1st Class on the Titanic, and After 9/11. He died from complications of pneumonia on August 31, 2016 at the age of 86.