An item on the BBC lunchtime news caught my immediate attention; the opening of an Exhibition at the Tate by the veteran photo-journalist Sir Don McCullin. As usual the interviewer dwelt on his reputation as a war photographer, and Don duly talked about his famous picture of a shell-shocked Marine at the Battle of Hue in 1968. McCullin’s images of the Vietnam War are extraordinarily powerful and hard-hitting, as are his of other conflicts; Biafra, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Lebanon to name but a few. Few would argue he is the best war photographer ever. But then that evening the BBC screened a program “Don McCullin: Looking for England” in which he re-visited his photographic past, from the London neighbourhood he grew up in to the streets of Consett in the post-industrial north to high-brow Glyndebourne. Don McCullin is far more then just a war photographer. He never fails to sniff out meaningful and perceptive pictures, even when just wandering along the sea-front at Eastbourne on a rainy day. At 83 he still has incredible drive and curiosity. He is also still, clearly, deeply in love with photography, and loves making his own prints. What an inspiration he is.
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