Don McCullin on Photographing War

Hear photographer Don McCullin describe the emotions of photographing war

Who is Don McCullin?

Sir Don McCullin is best known for his iconic war photographs – including images from Vietnam, Northern Ireland and more recently Syria.

Born in 1935, McCullin grew up in a deprived area of north London. From the 1960s he forged a career as probably the UK’s foremost war photographer, primarily working for the Sunday Times Magazine.

Throughout his career, McCullin also recorded scenes of poverty and working class life in London’s East End and the industrial north, as well as meditative landscapes of his beloved Somerset.

The futility of war

What I'm trying to express is a kind of silent protest about the futility of war, but I don't know how people percieve it
Don McCullin

Don McCullin travelled to Germany in 1961 to photograph the building of the Berlin Wall. Over the course of 60 years he has photographed various conflicts around the world. But the photographer has never been content with the impact made by the images he has produced.

In this interview – filmed in Tate Modern's 2014 Conflict, Time, Photography exhibition – McCullin remembers the people and places that feature in some of his most powerful images.

Not just a war photographer

Eventually I moved out of London because I couldn’t stand being around too many people... the landscape became a kind of process of healing so that I could forget about wars and revolutions
Don McCullin

Although known to many as a war photographer, Don McCullin has also captured subjects including urban London, the Industrial North and the English countryside.

In this film, McCullin discusses this diversity of subject matter and reflects on his photographs displayed at Tate Britain in 2012.

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