People’s Princess through Lyons’ lens

QUEEN OF HEARTS: One of the iconic photos featuring in Darryn Lyons' Princess Diana exhibition.

By Luke Voogt

A Geelong photo exhibition is celebrating the life of Princess Diana, 20 years after her death on 31 August, 1997.
The exhibition is Geelong former paparazzo Darryn Lyons’ tribute to the “Queen of Hearts”.
“I think the world of her,” he told the Indy.
“She was the People’s Princess for a reason – she changed the royal family forever.”
From “land mines to leprosy” the former mayor was fascinated with Diana’s charity work and her connection with the people.
“The way she identified with the common person was incredible even though she had such amazing background,” he said.
“She upset the political establishment which is another thing I like about the Princess of Wales.”
Lyons will donate the proceeds of the exhibition to the Cotton On Foundation in honour of the late princess’ charity work.
“She made so many people’s lives better,” he said. “She changed the world’s focus on leprosy.”
Princess Diana was also famous for her work with AIDs victims and landmine removal in Africa. Cotton On Foundation supports similar projects on the continent.
“They’ve been quite a big help in the Geelong community too,” Lyons said.
Lyons said the exhibition would show Diana “as a person” with her boys William and Harry.
“There have been so many iconic pictures of Diana.”
The exhibition featured Lyons’ favourite snap of the princess, which showed her perched on a diving board looking “a million dollars”.
But the photo also “showed her vulnerability with so much power,” he said.
Mr Lyons hoped the Diana: The Queen of Hearts – 20 Years On exhibition, which opened at The Elephant Castle on 31 August, would raise $10,000 for the Cotton On Foundation.
A previous exhibition at the venue raised $8000 for beyondblue.
Lyons has a photo of the princess following the accident that killed her, which he decided not to publish.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s in very safe keeping,” he said. “I have no need to change my intentions from 20 years ago.”
But he hinted he may one day reveal the picture for historic purposes.
“One day there may be a time but certainly not at the moment,” he said.
“(Diana’s death) is one of the greatest pieces of history of our time. You can’t stop an image of history.”

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