Under a Brooding Sky: The Photography of Don McCullin

As a chron­i­cler of war, Don McCullin is a leg­end. Hen­ri Carti­er-Bres­son once com­pared him to Goya, and John Le Car­ré wrote, “He was a com­mu­ni­ca­tor of the world’s worst ago­nies, a pil­grim to the front line of human suf­fer­ing, return­ing with his kit-bag of hor­rors to appal the com­fort­able, the wil­ful­ly blind and the unknow­ing.” As a pho­to­jour­nal­ist for The Observ­er and the Sun­day Times Mag­a­zine, McCullin cov­ered all the major con­flicts of the 1960s and 1970s, and many of the minor ones: Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia, North­ern Ire­land, Lebanon, Cyprus, Biafra, the Six-Day War, the Yom Kip­pur War. But McCullin has always hat­ed the term “war pho­tog­ra­ph­er” for what he calls its mer­ce­nary ring. In recent years the pho­tog­ra­ph­er has turned his lens on more peace­ful sub­jects, like the Eng­lish land­scape. Yet even in pas­toral set­tings, McCullin’s work retains a sense of men­ace. The very light seems to brood, as one col­league put it. “My favorite time to pho­to­graph land­scape is evening,” McCullin said in a 1987 inter­view. “I can’t avoid want­i­ng every­thing to go dark, dark, dark.”

A major exhib­it of McCullin’s work is on dis­play at the Impe­r­i­al War Muse­um in Lon­don through April 15, while a small­er exhib­it of his non-war pho­tographs (see above) is on dis­play at the Tate Britain through March 4.


by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.