I’ve written about Don McCullin before and not because he may be ‘Britain’s greatest ever war photographer’. I’ve written about him because he is a man who is unreachable. His life has been lived firmly on the opposite side of a line to our own, in the half constituting the unimaginable and unrecognisable. He hasn’t just seen war and photographed it, he has done so innumerable times and at scarcely imaginable cost to himself. Much of his work is of course combat footage, but there is so much that touches upon ordinary life and otherwise ordinary people. His photographs, combined with verbal and written insights by the man himself, provide an unparalleled commentary on the darkness that lurks within humankind. This is his contribution.
It was with great pleasure that I first read that 81 year old Don McCullin had been included in the New Year Honours list. He is to be knighted for his services to photography. In interviews (such as the one above) he often talks about his legacy and of making prints of Somerset. I feel, however, that the most poignant aspect of his legacy is not strictly photographic. It is himself. [Continue reading]