Don McCullin

Born in London, Don McCullin studied painting at the Hammersmith School of Arts and Crafts from 1948 to 1950, and worked for British Railways and as a color-mixer for Larkins Cartoon Studios before entering the military. There he was an assistant in aerial reconnaissance photography. Three years after returning to London, in 1956, he published his first photo essay, on his own youth gang, in The Observer, in 1961 he became a full-time photojournalist after his reportage on the construction of the Berlin Wall brought him widespread acclaim. By 1964 he had joined the staff of The Sunday Times, which sent him on assignments to Vietnam, Biafra, India, Northern Ireland, and other areas of political conflict. In 1967, McCullin became a member of Magnum, the cooperative photo agency founded in 1947 by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, and Chim (David Seymour); in 1984 he left The Sunday Times to return to freelance photojournalism. McCullin's work has appeared in Time, LIFE, Der Spiegel, and other periodicals, as well as the books The Destruction Business (1971), which was revised and expanded as Is Anyone Taking Notice? (1973), and Sleeping with Ghosts: A Life's Work in Photography (1994). His awards include the World press Photographer Award in 1965 for his documentation on the 1964 war in Cyprus, and he has had exhibitions at such institutions as the Victoria & Albert Museum and ICP. He received the Cornell Capa Award in 2006 from ICP.
McCullin is best known for his horrifying, graphic photographs of the Vietnam War. The emotional intensity of those images, often of physically repulsive and psychologically disturbing subjects, resonates within our collective historical memory. Although his recent landscapes and still lifes portray less volatile situations, they are nonetheless pervaded by a sense of lost innocence that recalls McCullin's earlier photojournalism.
Lisa Hostetler

Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 221.



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