Monday, 9 April 2012

Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin

Verdict: Go see it
Where: Imperial War Museum
When: 7 October - 15 April 2012

Don McCullin forged a photojournalistic career by venturing to dangerous battlefields including Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

His life started with war as he experienced the Blitz first hand as a child and grew up in an area which had its share of local gang warfare - his first published photographs were of these gangs.

His career would then take him all over the world to various war zones and would involve risking his life regularly. In this deeply personal exhibition he remarks how war became a drug to him and that he would become bored and restless when at home with his family.

The photos on display can be both harrowing and chilling, especially when he used his preferred approach of black and white prints. He later moved on to colour due to pressure from his bosses but the horrors of war seem starker in the black and white format.

Shellshocked by Don McCullin

His focus then switched from the makers of war (soldiers) to the victims and his pictures of abandoned and bullied children are heartbreaking. 

He's now had his fill of war and has shifted his talents to photographs of his local countryside and the war on AIDS, but he will always be remembered for his shots of war.

This is a powerful portrait of one man's career whose photographs are truly harrowing. War is hell and this is further proof.  

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