Art & Photography
Don McCullin (1935)
Don McCullin. The Citadel, Hue, 1968
Don McCullin has been called by his former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans, ‘a conscience with a camera’ and by Henri Cartier-Bresson as ‘Goya with a camera’. Certainly, that is how photographer Don McCullin's images in the 1960s and 70s helped a generation’s perception of modern war.
Don McCullin was born in 1935 in London’s Finsbury Park Leaving school at fifteen with no qualifications, McCullin signed up for National Service in the RAF as a photographic assistant. Initially based on projects in London, his commissions soon took him around the world, starting with the Cyprus War in 1964. This marked the start of his career as a photographer of war and other human disasters.
Between 1966 and 1984, McCullin worked for The Sunday Times Magazine. At the time The Sunday Times was at the cutting edge of investigative, critical journalism. During this period, McCullin’s assignments included Biafra, the Belgian Congo, the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’, Bangladesh, and the Lebanese civil war. It is his photographs of Vietnam and Cambodia that have become among the most famous and well-recognized.
McCullin faced no restrictions, even though his work took the realities of war into millions of living rooms contributing substantially to the growth of anti-war feeling. McCullin’s sympathies were with the victims – the poor, the dispossessed, and ordinary soldiers on both sides.
There has been no reporting from recent conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan comparable with that of McCullin in Vietnam.
In more recent years, McCullin has continued to travel internationally, photographing and printing new works from countries such as India, Syria, and Africa, where he documented the AIDS crisis.
His newer images include the British landscape, notably of Somerset, where he now lives.
McCullin has been awarded numerous awards over the years, including two premier Awards from the World Press Photo Award and the 2006 Cornell Capa Award by the International Centre for Photography in New York for his lifetime contribution to photography.
Don McCullin. A young dead North Vietnamese Solider. 1968