Fotojurnalistul Don McCullin a împlinit 80 de ani

Photography isn’t about seeing, it’s about feeling. If I don’t have some kind of feeling for what I’m shooting, how can I expect the person who looks at it to feel anything?
Don McCullin

 

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[Don McCullin by Alfred Dunhill]

 

Don McCullin s-a născut în 9 octombrie 1935, în Finsbury Park, London, Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii și al Irlandei de Nord. Când avea doar 14 ani tatăl său a murit. A fost forțat să plece pentru a-şi căuta un loc de muncă. Prietenii săi au fost membri ai unei bande locale. I-a fotografiat în 1959 iar apoi a trimis imaginile la „The Observer”, publicaţie care i-a oferit imediat un loc de muncă. De atunci Don a devenit un „om de război”, călătorind permanent în zone de conflict. Acum, la 80 de ani, fotografiază în format digital. Încă pune la cale diferite proiecte. Locuieşte în Somerset împreună cu soția sa, Catherine, şi fiul cel mai mic, Max.

Pentru a marca cea de-a optzecea aniversare a legendarului fotojurnalist Don McCullin autobiografia sa Unreasonable Behaviour și albumul de fotografie retrospectiv Don McCullin au fost actualizate și republicate. Revistele de specialitate îi tipăresc în continuare fotografiile, interviurile și confesiunile, iar presa îi așteaptă cu mare interes rezultatele muncii de teren. Da, Don McCullin este o prezență vie, are proiecte în desfășurare, de curând a plecat în Kurdistanul Irakian, pentru a documenta criza de acolo.

Dacă ne gândim că din 1992 până azi au fost omorâți în zonele de conflict 1148 de jurnaliști, putem spune fără să greșim că Don a avut nu unul, ci mai mulți îngeri păzitori. De aceea, maestrul spune cu seninătate și recunoștință: Life has been incredibly generous towards me. I’m still around, despite the fact that I had this massive heart operation, and I hope to be around for several more years. (…) I’ve been very lucky, I’ve been celebrated, and I’ve survived.

Suntem și noi recunoscători pentru că putem ajunge la gândurile și concluziile lui Don McCullin, probabil cel mai cunoscut fotograf de teatre de luptă din lume.

Vă propun un fragment din interviul realizat de către Steve Fairclough, pe care îl veți putea citi în întregime în revista Professional Photography (Issue 1 / November 2015, pp. 8-16).

 

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What’s your next major photographic project?
“We’re leaving this weekend for Northern Iraq; to go to Kurdistan for the war there, to look at it and see if I can chronicle what’s really going on. I’mgoing to have one last look at that, and I’m coming up to my 80th birthday; I shall be there on my birthday. I’m not trying to prove anything. I’mgoing because I don’t resign myself to sitting in an armchair looking out of the window because I’m 80 years of age. That’s not me. I have to keep using energy and using my imagination; using emotion. I cannot allow myself to be like a candle that someone’s just flicked out. I’m working on an even bigger book now, which will be printed in England. I’m doing one of what they call ‘a box book’ – three books in a huge box. It’s the most amazing printing I’ve ever seen that’s come out of this country, and it’s being done 20 minutes away from my house on a German Heidelberg press. This will really put my life’s work to bed.”

What would the 80 year-old Don McCullin tell the 20 year-old Don McCullin?
“Well, I would be cautious because frankly speaking I think photography has taken a huge U-turn and gone in another direction. It’s got itself into the mire of art. Photographers now shoot and consider themselves artists. It’s slightly sad, really. I think photographers have influenced many artists in recent years, so you don’t really have to lean on other kinds of mediums to express yourself. People like William Eggleston and Martin Parr have had a huge influence on people in colour. I’m a black-and-white man, so it’s not up to me to tell other people what to do and which direction to move in. But photography definitely has changed. It’s become incredibly minimal – it’s like the art world with installations. All that’s changed the art world, and photography has also been changed. I wouldn’t personally try to embark on a career in photography in this day and age.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and by whom?
“I’ve always looked at the work of other people. I’ve had more interesting conversations with writers than I have with photographers, and I’ve met some of the great photographers, like Helmut Newton, Lartigue and Eugene Smith – they were the great pretenders when I was younger. And Bill Brandt was one of the first wonderful men in photography that I met. So it wasn’t advice as such, but the only advice I would offer to other people is to look at the work of other photographers, because you can learn that way. Nobody taught me photography. I learnt by experience, and I learnt by embracing photography and the memory of the great masters. I never went to any photographic school. I learnt through my own experiences and emotions.”

 

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[ Don McCullin - Fishermen playing during their lunch break, Scarborough, Yorkshire, 1967 ]