From the construction of the Berlin Wall through every conflict up to the Falklands War, photographer Don McCullin has left a trail of iconic images.
At the Sunday Times Magazine in the 1960s, McCullin’s photography made him a new kind of hero. The flow of stories every Sunday took a generation of readers beyond the insularity of postwar Britain and into the recesses of domestic deprivation: when in 1968, a year of political turmoil, the Beatles wanted new pictures, they insisted on using McCullin; when Francis Bacon, whose own career had emerged with depiction of the ravages of the flesh, wanted a portrait, he turned to McCullin.
McCullin now spends his days quietly in a Somerset village, where he photographs the landscape and arranges still lifes - a far cry from the world’s conflict zones and the war-scarred North London of Holloway Road, where his career began.
In October 2015 it will be 25 years since the first publication of his autobiography, Unreasonable Behaviour - a harrowing memoir combining his photojournalism with his lifework. The time is right to complete McCullin’s story.
©1990 Don McCullin (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
"He has known all forms of fear, he's an expert in it. He has come back from God knows how many brinks, all different. His experience in a Ugandan prison alone would be enough to unhinge another man - like myself, as a matter of fact - for good. He has been forfeit more times than he can remember, he says. But he is not bragging. Talking this way about death and risk, he seems to be implying quite consciously that by testing his luck each time, he is testing his Maker's indulgence." (John le Carré)
"If this was just a book of McCullin's war photographs it would be valuable enough. But it is much more." (Sunday Correspondent)
"From the opening...there is hardly a dull sentence: his prose is so lively and uninhibited.... An excellent book." (Sunday Telegraph)
"McCullin is required reading if you want to know what real journalism is all about." (Times Saturday Supplement)
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"Interesting, informative but ..."
Don McCullin is an incredible photographer ... the creator of numerous iconic photos of war and conflict, tragedy and trauma, people and their environment. This autobiography takes the reader through his remarkable life and vast array of experiences in so many of the world's most troubled settings: he has portrayed and revealed to us shell-shocked soldiers, point-blank assassination, massacres in refugee camps, starvation, poverty, HIV/AIDS (South Africa, Zambia, Botswana), and so much more.
His autobiography chronicles these impressive achievements (photos, prizes, exhibitions, awards) as well as some of the difficulties of working in such settings. He also takes us through the impact of his work on his personal and family life, the newspaper industry in the UK and his relationships with journalists, photographers and editors.
Interesting and evocative, it nevertheless stopped somewhat short of deeply engaging the reader in contemplating being at the site of evil, cruelty, community demise, wonderment or joy - and holding some responsibility for communicating this to the world. He does not really push us, the readers, to consider the challenges and dilemmas faced behind the lines or on the front line; the ethics of witnessing; the difficulties of communicating stories of pain, suffering and resilience, or even how images are selected given the role of the market and politics. We get glimpses of these issues through his words but somehow so much more is left unsaid. The images tell it all, however.
[[Audible should work on facilitating the display of images alongside audio in some of its books....(yes, I know there would be copyright issues...). How wonderful it would have been to have the text accompanied by photographs, and to glimpse some of McCullin's other great photographic projects - people in India, ancient monuments in Syria, African and Amazonian people struggling for continuity of culture and language...]]
"Good but overly long memoir"
Overall I liked the book and listened to almost all of it. Don has had a unique life as a war photographer with national newspapers. He has visited many places at times when they are most vulnerable. We get a bit of background story which helps reveal his character, but then we follow individual exploits in different countries. Some of these stories are more interesting than others and the structure gives a disjointed feel to the memoir. The narrator was fantastic. He has the right tone for such a serious subject and doesn't seem to rush. I just felt the book was a bit too long, and because of the structure, there is no incentive to keep going until the end.
This had been in my library for a while but thankfully I finally decided to listen to it. I knew a couple of McCullin's photos but nothing of the man.
It turns out his story makes for a great read combining boys own adventure with humility and introspection. It's very well written. The narrator is great too - his voice suits the story perfectly.
My lasting opinion is that given what McCullin has witnessed, it's a wonder he's stayed sane. If you have any interest in photography, current affairs, history or derring-do then give this a whirl.
"Excellent and better than the first edition by far"
The narration is first class and though this isn't Don McCullin you can visualise him in the narration as if he were reading the book himself.
It is unerring and he isn't worried about writing about the bad experiences.
He is an excellent narrater.
First class read
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