Don McCullin  The Guv'nors

Don McCullin
The Guv’nors 1958
© Don McCullin

Don McCullin is one of the most important war photographers of the late twentieth century. Throughout his career he has documented the devastation caused by events of international significance including conflicts in Vietnam, Lebanon, Cyprus and Biafra. His photographs have depicted war-torn regions with clarity and honesty.

This display, selected in collaboration with McCullin, takes a broader view of his photographic practice. In one of his first overseas assignments, to Berlin in 1961, McCullin photographed a city troubled by the uneasy coexistence of military occupation and everyday life. His studies of homeless people in east London and the urban landscapes of northern England, made from the 1960s onwards, reveal the harsh reality of life for the poor in post-war Britain.

From the late 1980s McCullin has been increasingly interested in rural landscapes, producing dramatic compositions from places as different in character as the countryside around his Somerset home and the former battlefields of the Somme. Discussing his work, McCullin has said: ‘Photography isn’t looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.’

These special one-room Focus Displays take a look at an artist, theme or period of British art, using works from the Tate collection.

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TateShots: Don McCullin