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At Tate Britain

Jeremy Harding: Don McCullin

18 April 2019
... DonMcCullin’s retrospective at Tate Britain (until 6 May) is proof that it pays for a photojournalist covering victims of conflict and hardship to get up close: not quite eyeball to eyeball, but near enough to ...

At Tate Modern

Julian Stallabrass: Conflict, Time, Photography

19 February 2015
... perhaps we are stuck with its trauma, with grieving and, at a greater distance, with melancholy for all that has been lost. The photojournalism in the first room is the work of a single figure, DonMcCullin. His portrait of a Marine fresh from intense fighting for Hue in the Tet Offensive has been elevated by its fame from photojournalism to the realm of high art, and considerable skill has gone into ...

Humanitarian Art

Jeremy Harding: Susan Sontag

21 August 2003
Regarding the Pain of Others 
by Susan Sontag.
Hamish Hamilton, 117 pp., £12.99, August 2003, 0 241 14207 5
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Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics 
by David Levi Strauss.
Aperture, 224 pp., £20, May 2003, 1 931788 10 3
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... Photographs, for Susan Sontag, are accessories to the act of remembering. Regarding the Pain of Others is as much about what we do and don’t remember as it is about representations of suffering – photographs of war and disaster, for the most part – and their value. The archives of ordinary individuals are stacked with visual index ...

On David King

Susannah Clapp

21 June 2018
... on the early issues of City Limits. Rocketing arrows, thick sans-serif type, strong black bands. At the Sunday Times Magazine, where he was art editor for ten years from the mid-1960s, he laid out DonMcCullin’s Vietnam photographs over 17 pages, uninterrupted by ads. But at the time of his death, two years ago at the age of 73, his name was most often seen in a quiet copyright line at the end ...
7 March 1991
The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... if he thought something second-rate. At one editorial conference a writer put up an idea with some enthusiasm, and Godfrey Smith asked: ‘What do you think about that, Francis?’ He replied: ‘I don’t know. I was asleep.’ There was never anything on his desk. He had a gesture, forbidding to an outside contributor, of sweeping imaginary flotsam from its surface with the little finger of his ...

The Best Barnet

Jeremy Harding

20 February 1997
With Chatwin: Portrait of a Writer 
by Susannah Clapp.
Cape, 246 pp., £15.99, January 1997, 0 224 03258 5
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... up ‘as a young farmhand came in steaming from his work in the fields, observed: “What an odalisque.” Bruce’s italics.’ George Melly is startled that Chatwin has never heard of the Muppets. DonMcCullin, on a picture assignment for the Sunday Times magazine, rings at a grand house in Holland Park to find Chatwin standing behind the front door, ‘like Miss World’ – he looked, McCullin ...

Settling down

Karl Miller

20 November 1980
Young Emma 
by W.H. Davies.
Cape, 158 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 224 01853 1
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... this account, the tramps he lived with were a ceremonious and grammatical body of men; they were not, pace Shaw, without honour; there were no wild men like the down-and-out depicted on this page by DonMcCullin. The new memoir suggests that the old one was out to uphold a decorum: it is the work, for example, of a celibate who never mentions the subject of sex. The new one, by contrast, gives ...

Candle Moments

Andrew O’Hagan: Norman Lewis’s Inventions

25 September 2008
Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman Lewis 
by Julian Evans.
Cape, 792 pp., £25, June 2008, 978 0 224 07275 5
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... their available facts, always risks spoiling the reader’s pleasure. Facts can be as irritating as reality, or piety. As one of the characters in Kurosawa’s Rashomon says, ‘Not another sermon! I don’t mind a lie, not if it’s interesting.’ We know that Lewis was a fan of Rashomon. We also know that he had a reputation for journalistic solidity. Yet Evans’s biography constitutes an ...
4 August 1988
... about the past, partly because so much of art is selection, and memory and forgetfulness have done the selection for you in a way – what I did remember, I remembered for a reason. Also, though I don’t think my stories are particularly libellous, I felt a sort of embarrassment at writing about people I know, which was solved simply because most of the people I wrote about in Mrs Henderson and ...

Museums of Melancholy

Iain Sinclair: Silence on the Euston Road

18 August 2005
... trucks. The physical layout of city stations, part civic boast, part open-doored barn, creates a microclimate of suspended anxiety: the urge to fall asleep on an uncomfortable bench, to eat food you don’t need, to purchase goods as a token sacrifice against the hazards of travel. Leaving an older self behind, rooted, watching as you walk away, involves an element of risk. Stations are non ...

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