Saturday, 20 August 2011

TateShots: Don McCullin

A short but wonderfully insightful interview with Don McCullin. I've always liked Don's humble attitude towards his career and work. A shame more photographers don't think like him. I did have to defend his work though on a number of occasions when i was attending the various photography re-education camps that made up my photo education some years ago now.

Ironically most of the criticism did not come from the students but from the lecturers who didn't like, what they believed to be, the artification of McCullin's work due to shows like the one seen in the film. The fact that his work was in a gallery seemed to make it, in their eyes, less worthy as photojournalism or even, dare i say it, less worthy as photography. Photojournalism had no place in a gallery where it could be perceived as art.

Selling out was a common complaint from various lecturers at different establishments. Selling out seemed to be a coded metaphor for success. Success made you weaker creatively and morally. Don McCullin and Sebastião Salgado were usually singled out for criticism. My argument to that was simple. You'd turn down lucrative offers from galleries and sponsors?

Of course they wouldn't.

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