Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Although I set out to see the exhibition of women war artists at the Imperial War Museum,
I found that I was much more engaged by this magnificent exhibition of work by war photographer Don McCullin.
In fact, I was hopping mad with myself that I'd dawdled through the women artists and left myself insufficient time to watch the 30 minute video of McCullin talking about his work.
I find myself lost for words to describe the power of these photographs, some of them unbearably sad, some starkly beautiful.
There were images that made me gasp ... even as that voice in my head is thinking, 'Great story.'
I knew little about Don McCullin himself although his images are so familiar. But a sense of a man's unswerving honesty and decency pervades this exhibition. His first published photograph in 1958 was of London gangsters on the streets where he grew up. His experiences left him suffering from war fatigue and depression but in recent years he has found healing in landscape photography. 'My landscapes have become a form of meditation. They have healed a lot of my pain and guilt,' he says. But the exhibition is also a damning commentary on the decline of British newspapers from those heady days of the pioneering Sunday Times magazine under Harold Evans.
In my teens, I used to get up at the crack of dawn to get hold of the Sunday Times before my dad ...
McCullin eventually got the sack. Which says it all.

4 comments:

Sue said...

I'm afraid I hadn't heard of Don McCullin Mary. I'm glad you alerted me to him. Oddly, because their subject matter is so different, his work reminded me of that of James Ravilious' work (son of Eric).

mary said...

One of the greatest journalists of the century, Sue!
Interesting that he reminded you of James Ravilious. I've never seen his work except online.

Darlene said...

I listened to a very interesting podcast featuring an interview with Mr McCullin just the other day. It's too bad that I just missed this exhibit.

Two for the price of one exhibits are a real treat. R and I went to see some King Tut artifacts a couple of years ago at the AGO and I ended up being more enamoured with the Edward Steichen photography.

mary said...

I love the IWM, Darlene. Every time I go, I find myself wandering into some exhibition that wasn't on my original plan. A few years back, they had the most stunning exhibition about ships' camouflage - not something I'd ever have thought I'd be interested in, but I wandered in as I was there and it was brilliant.