I had not yet watched the film on Don McCullin photographer. It's now done. A magnificent documentary, on one of the greatest war reporters: Don McCullin. If today the photo has a fairly superficial use for many (selfies), the great photographers like Don Mc Cullin have another approach to this mode of expression.



Don Mc Cullin war photographer

Don McCullin photographed poverty in Ireland, the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the civil war in Cyprus (World Press Photo Award 1964), El Salvador, Vietnam for 10 years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, famines (Biafra, India, Bangladesh, and more recently the devastation of AIDS in Africa, he has won several awards for his reporting and joined the most famous circles of press photographers.
Don McCullin is one of the “great reporters” who traveled the world, lived through the conflicts of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the aftermath of the Cold War and a globalization that does not yet speak its name. They did so with the same brutality as the events they reported. Mccullin is angry when he denounces the dirty face of international conflict, brings security to the headlines, and brings an abstract conflict to life for the West.
Don McCullin

Don McCullin

The photos of Don Mc Cullin photographer

“For 20 years, I have never refused an invitation to war or to participate in a revolution. Why? I can feel the reason, but I cannot express it. “Unfortunately, Don McCullin belongs to this generation, which will increase the engagement of the sensational artist with his body in defense, with the sweat of his brow and at the risk of his life.
While her photos from the Vietnam War had a huge impact on public opinion and helped end an absurd conflict, they also brought in corpses covered in shrouds, tearful women lying over their bodies. child and covered his face. , the collective blood of exhausted soldiers. And reduce the impact on our consciousness through repeated exposure.

Legend has it that his Nikon camera stopped a bullet in 1968, that he was seriously injured in El Salvador. She also wants the British government to deny her her press card to cover the Falklands War, due to the excessive visual impact of her images.


Don McCullin

Don McCullin born 1935 ARTIST ROOMS

A generation of photographers facing violence

This generation of strong image producers will discover the trivialization of violence and sensationalism while adhering to the paradox of photographer reporter: live from what is denounced. Each photographer has his strategy to face the insoluble moral questions of his profession. Don McCullin, like a handful of others, appears to have adapted to testosterone due to the proximity of the conflict, the fleeting but physical, immediate and complete engagement with the people he photographed.
“Compassion and regret for Biafra have continued to haunt me. You naively imagine that integrity is enough to justify yourself in any situation. So we have nothing to do - and how did I help the Biafres? […] “Extract from the newspaper Le monde of 6/04/07.
On July 28, 19682, he made a series of recordings with the Beatles, a session dubbed “A Mad Day Out” because of the many places in London that served as a backdrop during the day3. In 1980, he had his first major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, then in other renowned places (Arles 1992, Barbican Center in London 1998, United Nations headquarters 2001 with photos of AIDS patients, etc.).
He wrote his autobiography, which he published in 1990, Unreasonnable Behavior (unreasonable behavior, published in France under the title Risque et peril). Exhibited in 2006 at the Rencontres d'Arles in France and in 2012 at the Imperial War Museum in London for the exhibition Shaped by War. Don McCullin has recently turned to landscape, still life and commissioned portraits. Don McCullin currently lives in Somerset, is married and has five children from multiple marriages4.
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Don McCullin

Don McCullin

Don McCullin photo

Don McCullin photographer

Don McCullin photographer

Don McCullin photographer

Don McCullin

Don McCullin

Don McCullin

Don McCullin photographer


Bonus: Don McCullin's interview in The Guardians

When photographer Giles Duley was 18, his godfather gave him two gifts: a camera and a copy of Unreasonable Behavior, Don McCullin's Autobiography of His Life as a Photojournalist in Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Biafra, Lebanon and east London. The book was illustrated by Don McCullin's famous black and white photographs, images of war and human suffering that helped define the conflicts they described.

It was a book that upset Duley. Today the two sit opposite each other in Don McCullin's quiet cottage on Somerset Levels - as far removed from the horrors of war as one can imagine. The excuse for their meeting and our conversation is a major retrospective of Don McCullin's work at Tate Britain, which opens next week. Not that an apology is necessary because, as they reveal, they are already friends.

At 83 years of age, the appearance and eloquence of Don McCullin, after 60 years of photographing in war zones and elsewhere, can't help but seem like a stroke of luck defying death.

He rules out any mention of the injuries he suffered from falling from a roof in Cambodia (he broke several ribs and shattered his arm) and does not dwell on his hellish struggles in the city of Hue. in Vietnam, which left him (as he reported in Jacqui and David Morris' 2013 documentary Don McCullin) as a "tormented animal." Part of his restraint may be that he's a stoic, but it's also, possibly, because of Duley's presence. Because Duley, as McCullin puts it, "paid the price."


I first interviewed him at Charing Cross Hospital in October 2011. Soon after, and still recovering, he visited Don McCullin and his wife, travel journalist Catherine Fairweather, in the Somerset. He was in a wheelchair then, but today, now 47, walks on prosthetic legs and works hard, his mind is modest, engaging and impressive.

Duley's Legacy of War photographic project, launched in 2013, explores the long-term effects of global conflict, and in 2015 he was commissioned by UNHCR to document the refugee crisis, visiting 14 countries in the Middle East and d 'Europe and publishing, in 2017, I can only tell you what my eyes are seeing. He inspired Angelina Jolie and PJ Harvey and countless others. He's raised money to help some of the people he's photographed and has a wonderful Instagram feed, The One Armed Chef, with photos of the food he painstakingly cooks. He often cooks with the refugees before photographing them. It's a user-friendly thing, he says.


Kate Kellaway: My first question, in the spirit of the start, do you both take when you go out into the field? What are the practical elements you need?

Don McCullin: The right attitude really. You have to know why you are going there; are you determined to take the risk? Especially when we had a family, children, like me. And then a lot of premeditation: "Will I be able to do that?" Will I be able to do it? "

Giles Duley I always take Tabasco with me, because of the terrible amount of food I have had. And I always have a doorstop. In many places where I work now, kidnappings have become an important thing. So I always push this in the door, so at least if someone tries to get it in, there's a corner on it. Funny how you get these little things out of habit.

Don McCullin: I used to take a crepe bandage in case I broke my ankle or something. And Ready Brek because I was always afraid of being left with nothing to eat in the morning. There are all these trivial things.

Giles, you've already talked about how reading Don's memoir about unreasonable behavior at 18 inspired you. Why was that?
Don McCullin: It's interesting, because there was adventure and excitement, but what stuck with me were the photos. There is an image of a child soldier pointing a gun at other child soldiers [in Congo, 1964]. They are about 12 years old, fully equipped with M16s and helmets. Growing up, I had really wanted to be in the military, thinking it was glamorous, thinking war was exciting.

And seeing images like that made it clear what war was: an ugly and brutal thing. All the photos I had seen from the war before, which spoke of chaos, tanks, planes, explosions, people firing guns. But what stuck with me in the photos of Don is the contact with people's eyes. I think a lot of war photography, whether accidental or deliberate, makes war glamorous, but Don never did.

Don McCullin: When you are having a calamitous day and see bullets hovering over and shells coming in and surviving that day, there is no doubt that the adrenaline is in full swing. But then this continues for war after war until you come to the conclusion that you are laughing at yourself, thinking war is exciting, and forgetting that people are suffering and dying around you. .

It sounds like a simple question, but it's actually very complicated: what is a good photo?
Don McCullin: A photograph has to scream at you and tell you that something is wrong, that you are not living in the right world, something that words cannot explain to you.

When I walked into a school in 1969 in Biafra and saw 600 dying children, some collapsing and dying in front of me, I just can't tell you what it was, knowing that I had my own children living in Hampstead at the time. When a picture like this is so bad, it's easy to push the button, but it's not easy to live with.

Morally, I have always had a terribly uncomfortable conscience about this. Trying to justify my work, in any statement, in any form or form, is very difficult for me.


But I think what I'm getting at here is finding some good photos? Or done? Does the eye find the image?
Don McCullin: It's about the emotional - we're not just photographers, we come together emotionally. A camera doesn't mean a draw for me. I just put it in front of me and transfer the image through this piece of glass and this film. But I use my emotion more than I use this equipment.

And at the same time, a thousand thoughts go through my brain and say, “Is it okay to do this? I saw men executed and I didn't photograph him and I thought my God, if my editor knew that I hadn't pressed that button, he would give me the safe. But it is my moral duty not to take this photo because the man about to be killed did not give me his permission.

GD Unlike Don, I've always been on the brink of conflict, [concerned] about the consequences of it. But certainly, there are times when you choose not to take a photo. There is always a point where you connect with someone's eye or something is going on and when someone doesn't want it, it's pretty clear.

Don McCullin: When a man is standing in front of you about to die, you cannot help him. He's crying and he's looking at you. He looks where he thinks God is and he shoves like crazy at this last chance to stay alive and you stand there you can't help him. You are ashamed of humanity.

So, has work changed your view of humanity over time?
Don McCullin: Absoutely. Absoutely. This is why I live here. There is hardly anyone here. I don't have to communicate with people. I need to go. I need to hide. I need a sanctuary, and this is [his home in Somerset].

You said, Don, that you somehow feel that you failed to do what you would have liked to have done through photography, but surely you couldn't have thought that photography would end the war or to human misery?

Don McCullin: Many people would not understand what is meant by "failure". All I'm saying is that when a war is cleared up, the next war waits behind the scenes and it seems to have worsened over the years.

When I started, there were no crazy 14 year old boys in West Africa with machetes, cutting off the arms of people, babies and children. You thought it couldn't be worse than that, then Isis came along, setting that Jordanian pilot on fire in that cage.

And if you think of the two most important photos that came out of Vietnam, one was the girl running on the road, which was taken by Nick Ut (although everyone thinks I took that photo… I don't know why) in 1972. The other photo was of Eddie Adams in 1968 of the chief of police shooting the man in the head. It took several years after them for the war to end. So that's what I'm getting at. Are we changing something? The pictures didn't stop the war, did they?

The folks at GD ask: can you change the world with your photo and I would say, no, but maybe we can inspire the people who do. A few years ago I received a letter from a man in Australia who had just entered medical school.

He really struggled growing up, at home and at school, but he had a picture of me on his wall, the one I took in Afghanistan. “That's what made me want to be a doctor,” he says. Every day he looked at this photo to remember. Honestly for me, if that's the only impact of my work, that's great. And Don says his job hasn't changed a thing, well it has changed my life. It made me do what I do.

Don McCullin: If I can come back to Giles: If I had suffered from what Giles went through, I wouldn't feel what I feel. He is right to press this button more than I am because he has paid this appalling price. He knows the cost of pain. If I had been through what he went through, I wouldn't have this guilt of pushing the button [knowing] that I can go, get on a plane, and return to safety.

Don McCullin: I still have this trump card! I was walking around Mosul to a hospital a few years ago and people had lost their legs. I was joking, "Well, it's only one leg, what are you bothering about?" "

I'm one of the few people to get away with this. But I remember before I got hurt I photographed a boy in South Sudan who was shot in the stomach and kidneys and I was just alone in a little mud hut with him, because the doctors were gone.

I pointed my camera and took a picture and almost threw up afterwards because I felt so sick from what I had just done. You think you are there for the right reasons because it is important that the story be told.

But pointing a camera at a dying person, if you did that in London on the street, people would think you were the meanest person in the world. So why do it because we are abroad? It is not a human thing to do.

Don McCullin: I really think we're paying the price, or me personally, it's night. When I go to bed, if I let the trigger fire, everything comes back to life with such clarity. A lot of people say, "Oh, the picture you took of the hungry albino boy" [must have been the worst moment], but it wasn't the worst experience I have ever had.

I never even took a picture of the worst experience I had. I found a man once in Salvador, when the rebels had captured this little town, which had lost all of its lower face through its nostrils, all the jawbone was gone, everything else. He had been hit in the face with a few bullets and tore the rest of his face.

Giles, can I ask you an incredibly dangerous question? Well, it's more personal than dangerous. But I cannot understand to this day why you were injured while in the hands of the US military - what do they call it? Embarked?

GD Yes, integrated [attached to a military unit involved in an armed conflict]. It's interesting. You are under fire and you must go where you are told. In South Sudan and Congo, I used to be always alone. When you are with a group of soldiers like this, you lose some of your instincts and your normal way of working. I certainly wouldn't blame them, but it's interesting that the moment I got hurt was when I wasn't totally in control of what I was doing.

Don McCullin: They were responsible for [your] injuries, in my opinion, not you.

GD But in a lot of places you've been in, say, Vietnam, you might have been with the American troops, but you wouldn't hold them responsible for your safety?

Don McCullin: No. But at the time, you weren't integrated. You got the rank of major, hopped on a helicopter, and went anywhere you wanted. They didn't care if you were killed. I have to say my son was in Afghanistan with the Marines, only for six months, but the whole time he was there I was thinking about you and thought it was such a selfish thing of me to say , I didn't want him to come back horribly hurt like you did. He came back and, he was fine, he is happy.

I told myself that didn't worry me, but I was worried to death.

You thought like a father. Giles paid a huge price, but we also have to think about the role that luck plays ...
GD Of course. I consider myself the luckiest man in the world. Only 20 people in this country even survived the explosion and the loss of three limbs.

Eighteen months later, I was back in Afghanistan to work. I traveled alone to 14 countries last year. I have everything I ever wanted in my life, plus a lot more experience, a lot more understanding of life and death, my empathy, my connection to people.

Is it clear from your autobiography, Don, that war photography is not a great career choice in terms of private life?
Don McCullin: It can ruin you. This is what happened with my first marriage, even though my children came back to me in a very generous way and forgave me. We are a very close family but photography - it's not all good.

GD No. And even if you forget the dangers, it's just the amount of your absence. Something else could be planned and then you go… It's selfish. I mean there is no way around it.

Don McCullin: She's a dangerous mistress, and it's one of those loves that never ends, you know. It never ends. You are totally captive to the photograph once it takes you.

You both do a wonderful job in black and white - that's almost a mark for you, Don. What black and white has this color missing?

Don McCullin: I did some color photos, but I think in a way it's starting to look a bit glamorous. You see the color, you think of Hollywood. But black and white is not true, is it?

I mean, we don't live in a black and white world. We use black and white as a weapon because it will scream at you and yell at you. You won't miss the black and white, but you might skip a color image.

Don McCullin: … Especially on digital…

GD Yes. He said, “This is exactly the reality. " But it's not. A photograph is always a fake thing. I took a second of the whole day; my version of reality. Black and white for me, that's honest, is to say, it is obviously not reality.

A Turk sprinting from the exposed door of an old cinema in Limassol, Cyprus, 1964. It was Don McCullin's first foreign mission to the Observer. Photograph: Don McCullin / Observer
The images that I find most powerful are a bit like hauntings. They hang around.
Don McCullin: They should. This is what we are trying to provide. If I can haunt people with my photos, I've done my job.

You both suffered from dyslexia when you were boys and I wonder if your talent in photography has been a way of finding a different and powerful means of communication?
Don McCullin: I suffered from being dyslexic. School teachers used to blow seven bells for me because they thought I was skiving. I took terrible hiding places from sadistic and Victorian masters who were the last of this legacy.

GD When I was 13, I was held back for a year in school. When you're that age, being told you're stupid and everyone laughing at you leaves a huge mark. So when at 18 I discovered photography, found all the work of these photographers, it was like discovering poetry or literature.

Don McCullin: That's what makes us so different, Giles. You have had this tremendous boost in culture. When I was 15, I was working on a steam train going up to the north of England, doing the dishes in the dining car. I was living a rough life. I was watching nude shows!

I used to sleep in the railroad sheds outside of Liverpool - Edge Hill - and there I met this boy who took me to that shabby old theater in Liverpool. The women were naked - only from the waist down at the time - and they were not allowed to move. Everything was done in a tasteful picture.

Looking to the future of photography now, we are a culture saturated with images: are cellphones and Instagram a threat?

Don McCullin: Not a threat at all. Take the white helmets who risked their lives in Syria: phones were the only way to disseminate information. Photojournalism has had its day, however. When was the last time you saw a really serious large set of photos? The newspapers, even the big ones, almost run tabloid-type material about movie stars and footballers and bullshit like that.


Don McCullin: I get a lot of letters - and you must have the same thing - saying, “I want to be a war photographer”. I tell people it's good, but there are just as many wars going on in our cities.

If you want to be a war photographer, go out there and help yourself. My best story wasn't in a foreign war; my best story was the homeless story I made in the 1970s in Aldgate, on the outskirts of the big lucrative part of this country, the city.

And it's going to be in the Tate exhibit, right?
Don McCullin: Yes. I am more proud of these images and I am more proud of the social images I have made of poverty in the north of England than of all my images of war. I am not at all proud of my war photos.

What do you think of the Tate show?
Don McCullin: It's uncomfortable. We have to be careful what we do because if we do it too well we turn our work into icons. The word "art" - I absolutely hate it being associated with photography.

Most American photographers now want to be called artists. I could get a lot of criticism for [being at Tate Britain] really, but I'm in an art gallery because I'm not in a newspaper. I have 60,000 negatives in this house and I have a very good collection of about 400 photos that I am really proud of.

GD Yes, what's the point of taking a photo if no one sees it? You have to find it, whether in a gallery, whether in a newspaper.

I can not resist asking you, Don, how did the Observer become your journal?
Don McCullin: Yes, I started my career with the Observer, although the word "career" bothers me, it is a calling. The newspaper ran a few photos [of the Finsbury Park gang, the Guv'nors] that I sent in as specified, and later editor Bryn Campbell said, "Would you consider going to the civil war in Cyprus? "

I [felt] I was able to levitate; I thought I was really taking off! I went with the corresponding Ecclesiastical Observer from the city of Limassol, who was subsequently killed at Swiss Cottage on a rainy night on his Vespa. And that's where I had my baptism of fire - I was in the Turkish quarter and there were all those bullets. I was just running like a mad hare, I didn't know what I was doing; I wasn't concentrating. And then I calmed down. It was my first time at war.

Finally, I wonder what it would actually mean for both of you to give up photography?
Don McCullin: It will be the day I die. This is when the photograph will be stolen from me. I don't intend to die yet, by the way. My most exciting moment of my life comes Monday at my show.

I don't know why, I've had a lot of exposures and all of a sudden I can't sleep at night thinking about this one anymore.

GD I made this comment on the words I said during my hospitalization. If I hadn't been able to take another photo, I would have preferred to die in Afghanistan. Photography is me. It's my voice. As easy as that.


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