Great equipment does not create great images.
Photographic insight is not in the equipment but the vision of the photographer. This is never more true than can be seen in this video. Don McCullin was a war photographer for more than 30 years. He saw some of the most appalling atrocities and covered some of the worlds most horrific wars – conflicts that would sear the sole. Yet in all that time he has retained a human and gentle perspective that provides a delicate insight but which also covers a dark vision too.
In this video Don McCullin is confronted, in his 70’s, with using a brand new digital camera for the first time. After more than 50 years of film and darkroom work as a professional photographer he abruptly makes the transition to digital. This film charts the progress of his first week. It is a transition which anyone who has started to learn digital photography has gone through. For Don it is a shock and revelation as well as a considerable learning curve. Many of you will empathise with his self-questioning and re-evaluation of his own skills and knowledge.
Canon CPS | Don McCullin Feature “Seeking the light”
Despite his gentle and unassuming approach in the video Don McCullin has demonstrated an amazingly insightful photographic vision. His war photography, and his street photography is eye-catching and beautiful. His control of dark tones and wide variations in light is his signature – one that made his war photography iconic.
In a previous article I covered a BBC programme Vivian Maier: Who Took Nanny’s Pictures? in the Series “imagine – Summer 2013”. There is now also a wonderful programme on Don McCullin. You can see the recently broadcast BBC programme on the BBC iPlayer if you have access. The programme has some upsetting images and some extraordinary photography covering the ugly truth of war photography in the face of grave personal, life threatening danger. It is an amazing film. “McCullin” will be available for another few weeks (published 11/07/2013).
Insights into an extraordinary life
For an insight into a very dark path through war photography, as well as some of his amazing photographs, watch this interview on a Canadian television programme. Don McCullin tells of his extraordinary life, some of the horrific things he has seen and explains who he is today. Well worth watching.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
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