Is Anyone Taking Any Notice?

This is a book of photographs by Don McCullin published at the start of the 70's. I've looked through it so many times in the ICP library I finally bought my own. Luckily I found a cheap second hand copy; some first editions run to the hundreds of dollars!

It is an amazing book with some of McCullin's most iconic photographs from England, Africa, Northern Ireland and of course Vietnam.

I personally regard McCullin as not only one of the greatest photographers but also one of the most important. His humanity in the face of the worse situations possible and his courage to show these situations with integrity and respect are admirable.

Looking at his images I feel that he genuinely cares about the people he photographs and that in photographing them he is asking all of us for help.

In every combat photographer since, in every photographer of famine and social degredation I see echoes of McCullin's work.

His photographs are so powerful that the British government refused to grant him a press pass during the Falklands war (which turned out to be a considerably less bloody war than those he had previuosly photographed).

He is also a damn fine landscape photographer, though this aspect of his work is often overlooked.

This particular publication is made all the more special thanks to McCullin's annotations which are eloquent and honest and are given added gravity thanks to excerpts from a lecture given by nobel laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who I confess to knowing little about but you can find a biography of him here.

Here are a few sample pages. I picked them more or less at random, every page in this book is worth looking at.

There is an interview with McCullin worth listening to here.

Given that 40 years have passed since many of these photographs were taken and the world has become even more globalised, and people are every day made aware of exactly the same human suffering McCullin was photographing, it makes me sad that the title of this book is a question that we still need to ask.

Is Anyone Taking Any Notice?

1 comment:

Robert said...

Amazing book. Everyone should look at it. I have known Don for over 2o years. He has never hesitated to make photos of the worse things people do to each other - so that me might know!