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McCullin

Directed by David Morris and Jacqui Morris

UK, 2012

Cornerhouse, 1 January 2013

McCullin

In this fine documentary we are given a very full account of Don McCullin’s photographic career.

That compassion, humanity and cold, clear vision – the McCullin stamp, you might call it – is present in all of his photographs, whether the subject happens to be North London would-be gangsters (all of them mates he had grown up with), marines and villagers in Vietnam, or the haggard homeless.  For it is a mistake, you begin to realise, to think of McCullin as a war photographer, despite the recent exhibition of his work at the Imperial War Museum ; it would be more accurate to describe him as a humanitarian photographer.  What he sought to do was to show the suffering and senselessness of war, its human cost.  That’s what he honed in on, and it’s key to what he’s all about.

Harold Evans, editor at the Sunday Times when McCullin was assigned to the paper, talks in the film about the integrity and truth and empathy evident in his work.  The man is spot on.

His autobiography Unreasonable Behaviour, though rather dated (it came out in 1990), is well worth seeking out; but do see this documentary about McCullin first.

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