Film reveals photographer Don McCullin's moving insights on life in war
The world’s most revered war photographer, Don McCullin, talks movingly of the cost of a life spent documenting man’s inhumanity to man, in a new film that opened at Bristol’s Watershed yesterday.
From civil war in Cyprus to the wars in Vietnam, the Congo, Cambodia, Lebanon, Berlin, the streets of Northern Ireland and most recently Syria, Mr McCullin has risked his life to try to show the truth behind the headlines and the propaganda.
His searing images tell a story of the late 20th century that many would prefer to forget. But they were won at a price. The most moving moments come when the photographer talks in the peace of his Somerset home about the almost disabling effect of a lifetime capturing atrocities.
Working for the Observer and then the Sunday Times his aim was always to hit the reader hard. “Seeing and looking at what others cannot bear to see is what my life is all about,” he says, describing the “moral sense of purpose and duty” behind his work. But in the end this very private man admits he was driven mad and tormented by his experiences.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
He found solace in photographing the Somerset landscape which he had first got to know as a young evacuee from London. They are no chocolate box images, but grainy black and white pictures of nature in the raw.
In the film, directed by Jacqui Morris, Harold Evans, former editor of the Sunday Times, describes Mr McCullin as a “genius”, paying tribute to his sensitivity and the toughness needed to carry out his job. Born and brought up in Finsbury Park, London, the young McCullin was never afraid of standing his ground.
In Vietnam he lived with US troops for weeks while other photographers flew in and out on brief assignments. He knew where he needed to be and fought to get there. His work from the 1960s-1980s conincided with a remarkable period in British journalism when proprietors like Lord Thompson of the Sunday Times took pride in not allowing commercial considerations to censor what their editors wanted to print.
When Rupert Murdoch took over the Sunday Times and new editor Andrew Neil arrived the ethos changed, and, the film argues, advertising revenue became paramount as well as obsession with celebrity.
Mr McCullin says the freedom he enjoyed has gone, but he still loves photography and loves being in his dark room. Although he shot his recent pictures in Aleppo for the Times on a digital camera, most of his life’s work has been on film, and the documentary itself has been shot on 16mm film.
McCullin, certificate 15, runs at Watershed, Bristol, until January 10.