Don McCullin: Images of Brutality

This article was previously published in Issue 20, ISLANDS (March 2019).


The opening  statement  of the Don McCullin retrospective at Tate Britain is bold and uncompromising: photography is ‘not looking, it’s feeling’. This is how legendary British photographer McCullin describes the sixty years  he spent as a photojournalist, capturing some of the most devastating scenes of suffering the world has seen. McCullin’s reflective  comment  concisely  sums up the response that his powerful and unsparing body of work demands of its viewer in this comprehensive exhibition. Showcasing some 250 photographs of war, starvation, poverty and death, McCullin’s stark  retrospective does not shy away from its explicit confrontation of the horrors  of violence and atrocity.

Don McCullin, Jean, Whitechapel, London, c. 1980, Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper, 36 x 51.5 cm, Eric and Louise Franck (Image: Tate, London, 2019)