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Discussion in 'Photographers' started by MaximusM3, Oct 8, 2011.
Don McCullin's war with guilt
The text on that page is pretty powerful.
Thanks for posting.
Powerful stuff indeed. Someone had to do it but it surely takes a very special human being. I'm sure the memories will haunt him until the end of his days.
Thanks very much for the link. I read in McCullin's autobiography how certain negatives haunt him, and here I think he was singling out the Biafran albino boy photo, you got a real sense in that book of how the horror of what was photographed lives not just in the negative but also in the memory.
A god storyteller
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Don and talk about his whole life. Then we went outside and i took this portrait of him.
Very nice work Dark.
Excellent picture, DarkMagic! For those interested in Don's work and life...read his autobiography "Unreasonable Behaviour"
This really had a profound effect on me:
"It really messes you up," he said. "It's incomprehensible the way human beings can slaughter each other in front of you. And you take it home with you. And it's like you haven't cleaned your teeth in several months, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth."
It's almost impossible to be empathetic and try to understand what McCullin must be going through... Wow.
Only Veterans know.
My ex's father was a Vietnam War photographer and has been an alcoholic (not violent or anything) ever since. One day we found boxes of slides and went through scanning them. Terrifying stuff.
Such a dignity - I am amazed by people that can absorb that kind of experience and come through the other side mostly intact. I always knew that I could never be a police officer or any role that required immersion in the cynical, callous, cruel or depraved side of our natures. I am certain it would ruin me.
If anybody knows where the rest of that interview can be seen - please post.
Watching the horrors while documenting them as an assignment, must be absolute torture. I guess it was a choice he made knowing well that he would never be the same.
Ah, nice - thank you sir. I think you are right about having to make that decision. I have a related, though maybe not particularly germane to this post, discussion in my head if you care to have it.
I have one of his landscape/still life books and they are amazing photographs. He is a very humble human being and I can remember a TV interview with him when I lived back in the UK. They showed the making of a good number of his war prints (Actual darkroom scenes showing printing) and some of his later still life/landscape work. I truly believe he has been ever changed by his experiences and it must be a hell of a thing to have experienced what he did, come home alive, and then try and continue on carrying such demons.
Survivors guilt and flashbacks are very common in combat veterans in my own case I still suffer sometimes even after more than forty years and quite often the things you have experienced are so terrible that the mind rejects them and you have no recollection of what happened only of the noise and the fear.
And I humbly (and thankfully) have nothing to add.
Dad drank (WWII), my cousin turned to religion after the Vietnam trip. Dad made it thru the various stages, cousin went missing in the mountains of So Cal a small number of months ago. Sucks.
Hang in there, and use the resources that have finally been made available to our vets. Even though they don't always work as well as we wish, bottling them up inside doesn't seem to work as well.
Having been boots on the ground in Nam and many other "conflicts" his words paint one hell of picture of what it is like. My heart goes out to all of those who served in any manner.
My father was an infantry officer in WW11 for six and a half years and saw combat in Burma, landed in Normandy on D Day and fished up at the end of the war in North Germany he had terrible problems with what they call these days "post traumatic stress" when he got out of the army but in those days the medical profession just told you to "pull yourself together and get on with it", and it wasn't much better in my day in the early 1960s, although he's a brave man and I greatly admire his work McCullum didn't have to kill anyone in hand to hand combat with a trench knife !.