vespamore photography (pronounced "vespa-mor-ay" combining the words vespa and amore, the Italian word for love, "vespalove" by definition)
- 35mm film photography by Paul Hart, gallery - here As well as featuring my own work, this blog also features work by other photographers and anything else creative that has caught my attention or inspired me.

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4.7.13

Don McCullin

                                click image to view large

Most folk no doubt call into the vespamore site to check out great images of vespas I've come across & my own 35mm film work I hope; after all this is what the site is about.

For those whose interest in photography goes a bit deeper & beyond this check out the work of British photographer Don McCullin, particularly if like me you didn't or don't already know of him. Probably like a lot of others, I'm familiar with some of Don McCullin's most famous images like the shell-shocked US marine taken in Vietnam (shown above) but couldn't have told you who took them. This changed when I watched the excellent 'McCullin' film by Jacqui & David Morris on Monday night via the BBC's Imagine series.

Not surprisingly after what he has experienced, Don McCullin would like to be thought of more for his landscape photography rather than his established reputation as a war photographer; having covered conflicts in Berlin, Cyprus, Vietnam, Biafra, Beirut & most recently Syria to name a few. The film acts as a backdrop to his life touching on his upbringing in London's Finsbury Park & charts his emergence as a photographer working at first for the Observer newspaper, before finding a home & freedom to work his own way at the Sunday Times, under the editorship of Harold Evans whose interview punctuates the film, adding insights into McCullin's work. McCullin is constantly at odds with himself taking photographs of the most unimaginable acts of inhumanity & suffering; often reconciling they must be taken to bring home these horrors to the world at large. Some of the things he has seen first hand & up close do not bear thinking about but in these days of sanitised, managed media coverage, you can only have great admiration for the courage he displayed & lengths he went to in bringing these images to the pages of our newspapers.

Being a proper photographer like Don McCullin must take a lot of skill, a sixth sense & anticipation for an impending composition or scene about to unfold. I guess this becomes easier with experience but you would require unfaltering nerve & confidence to get up close to many of these situations; not just in war zones but also with some of the shots he took of homeless folk in London like the one below. I couldn't imagine getting in someone's face like this. I'm an amateur film photographer but my subjects of mainly classic vehicles & occasional candid portraits are definitely a soft option. In a time when many claim to be a 'photographer', seeing the work of Don McCullin makes you realise what is really required...

                         
Watch the film 'McCullin' if you can; it's hard-hitting, inspiring & very difficult being reminded of the depths we humans stoop to as a race in our pursuit of wars in the name of religion & land. On a more positive note, the film photography has a beauty & emotion to many of the images despite the subjects, which aren't all based around war; the shots McCullin took of gangs & communities in his native London are equally striking.

Don McCullin's work is featured in many books including Shaped By War & most recently Southern Frontiers: A Journey Across the Roman Empire. See more of his books here on Foyles' website. More Don McCullin links follow below the trailer.


McCullin Trailer from Jacqui Morris on Vimeo.


Guardian interview with Don McCullin (Dec 2012) - here

The Independent 'McCullin' film review

Don McCullin FB page - here

'McCullin' feature documentary film FB page - here

BBC 'Imagine' series 'McCullin' via iplayer here (not sure how long this will be available)

My Husband, Don McCullin - Harpers Bazaar interview with Don McCullin's wife, Catherine Fairweather


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