Sir Don McCullin Reflects on His Life as a Photojournalist
Defining a Career Through War
Sir Don McCullin, one of Britain’s most renowned photojournalists, has spent over 60 years capturing the horrors of war.
Despite his epic bravery in documenting these conflicts, he now considers much of his work to have been a “waste of time.”
In an interview to promote his new book, “Life, Death and Everything in Between,” featuring previously unpublished images, he shared his perspective on the unchanging nature of war.
Endless Cycles of Conflict
McCullin, who is 88 years old, expressed his frustration, noting that after one war ends, another is seemingly waiting to take its place.
He acknowledged that he has received praise for his work but maintained that “the people who look at books don’t change wars.”
He pointed to the ongoing “horrendous” conflict between Israel and Hamas as evidence of the unceasing nature of war, stating, “I’ve looked at so many wars, I’ve been in so many wars, and nothing has changed.”
McCullin’s Pioneering Work
Sir Don McCullin’s new book features 140 of his photographs, including a haunting image from the Vietnam War in 1968, showing U.S. Marines evacuating a wounded comrade during the Battle of Huế.
His coverage of this conflict helped establish his reputation as a household name.
Throughout his career, he also documented conflicts in Cyprus, Biafra, Iraq, Cambodia, and Lebanon.
The Limits of Photography
McCullin expressed his disappointment in the impact of his work, stating, “I think everything I’ve done concerning international conflict, everything I have contributed to showing how awful it is, I think has been a waste of time really.”
He emphasized that it’s not those who view his photographs but the policymakers who control lives that have the power to change the course of conflicts.
Despite his reservations about the impact of his work, McCullin remains committed to his craft.
He highlighted the power of his new book, which he described as having a unique layout.
His work has always aimed to convey the suffering of human beings and encourage viewers to recognize the purpose behind these images.
Beyond War Photography
In addition to his war photography, Sir Don McCullin’s body of work includes poignant images depicting poverty in Britain and documenting the AIDS crisis in Africa.
His new book coincides with the exhibition “Don McCullin in Rome – a Retrospective,” which features his powerful and emotional photography.
Publication and Exhibition Details
The book “Life, Death and Everything in Between” by Don McCullin is published by GOST Books.
The retrospective exhibition, “Don McCullin in Rome – a Retrospective,” will be on display until January 28 at Palazzo delle Esposizioni.