Interviews: 84-Year Old British Photographer Don McCullin (Apollo)

From an Apollo Magazine online interview (Feb 22, 2020):

McCullin is reluctant to place himself in the company of artists, partly because he never wants to feel that he’s ‘arrived’ – ‘The moment that happens, I know I’m finished’ – but also because of the nature of his material. ‘There’s a shadow that Irreconcilable Truths by Don McCullincomes over my life when I think […] that I’ve earned my reputation out of other people’s downfall. I’ve photographed dead people and I’ve photographed dying people, and people looking at me who are about to be murdered in alleyways. So I carry the guilt of survival, the shame of not being able to help dying people.’ 

Don McCullin Vietnam and Berlin Photos from websiteOn top of a hill a few miles from Don McCullin’s house in Somerset is a dew pond, a perfectly circular artificial pond for watering livestock. Nobody knows how long it has been there; some dew ponds date back to prehistoric times, and it’s tempting to think that this one served the Bronze Age hill-fort that overlooks the site. McCullin is obsessed with the pond. For more than 30 years, whenever he has had the time, he has walked up the hill and stood there with his camera waiting for the right moment to take a photograph. Often, the moment never comes: he can spend hours there, just looking. ‘It’s as if it has a hold over me,’ he tells me when I visit him at home in early January. ‘I can’t leave it alone, I photograph it all the time. And yet I think I’ve done my best picture the first time I ever did it. I can’t tell you how.’

Read full interview

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