Best known as an unflinching photojournalist covering war zones throughout the second half of the 20th century, Don McCullin has also created an important body of social documentary work in his native Britain and a recent series of lyrical, brooding landscapes.
An exhibition of 134 black-and-white photographic prints drawn from the artist’s collection, Don McCullin: A Retrospective includes works from all of McCullin’s major series: portraits of the poor and the homeless in London and northern England (1950s to 1970s); the construction of the Berlin Wall (1961); war and famine in Cyprus, the Congo, Biafra, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lebanon and Northern Ireland (1964-82); scenes of Southeast Asia and Africa (1988-2011); and landscapes in Somerset, England, and northern France (1988-2011).
McCullin’s photographs from the battlefields belong to a tradition of war art practiced by Francisco de Goya, Otto Dix, Robert Capa and others, who sought to communicate in images the horrors of human conflict. Particularly compelling for their narrative depth, somber lighting and powerful composition, McCullin’s photographs convey the intensity and intimacy of his human encounters. Late in his career, haunted by nightmares, McCullin retreated from war, turning his lens to the peaceful countryside around him.