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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 suggest a portrait. Most of McCullin’s photographs ask us to look frankly at the human face, and often our gaze is reciprocated ...

At Tate Modern

Julian Stallabrass: Conflict, Time, Photography, 19 February 2015

... switches between shots taken from an aircraft – bomb craters, fields of shattered armour and abandoned trenches already softened by erosion and sandstorms – and others taken at the photographer’s feet: sacking, boots, looted goods and shell cases. The photographs in Sophie Ristelhueber’s Fait were taken seven months after the Gulf War. The piece ...

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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... 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 cards that trigger a range of private ...

Silly Buggers

James Fox, 7 March 1991

The Theatre of Embarrassment 
by Francis Wyndham.
Chatto, 205 pp., £15, February 1991, 0 7011 3726 6
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... fiction, rather than visiting Joan Crawford in her film-set caravan, accompanied by Lord Snowdon. Richard Wollheim and Colin McInnes had been overheard talking about him on the balcony at a party. ‘There we were,’ said McInnes afterwards, ‘like two Chinese civil servants in the snow, talking about the Emperor.’ He shared an office with Meriel ...

On David King

Susannah Clapp, 21 June 2018

... In the days​ before artists brought colour to the cover, the London Review of Books was black and white. Of course, originally, it had no front at all: the first edition, in 1979, was meekly folded into the New York Review of Books. The following year it jumped out of that pouch and into a world where literary journals were routinely typographical ...

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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... sparsely into what is very much a home-turf story, from Sheffield, to Birmingham, Wiltshire, London, Edinburgh, Gloucestershire, Wales and the Borders, with stints in Europe and the US thrown in. The disadvantage, a big one, is that Chatwin at home, insofar as there was ever such a place, is a figure painfully confined by high society or, at least, by ...

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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... pace Shaw, without honour; there were no wild men like the down-and-out depicted on this page by Don McCullin. 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 glimpses of dereliction which can bring to mind the world ...

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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... circle of friends whom he trusted at Berlemont’s [a Soho pub] and Orchard Street [Lewis’s London flat], among strangers he married a suburban boy’s foundation of inferiority to a writer’s scorn for the general stupidity of polite society. He forced himself to enjoy cocktail parties, generally left early. He was nervous of celebrity well before he met ...
... 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 ...

Museums of Melancholy

Iain Sinclair: Silence on the Euston Road, 18 August 2005

... starting point, the now disappeared settlement of Washingley (on the ridge above Stilton in Huntingdonshire). Two, we discovered, had ventured further afield. One, Oscar, booked passage for America. He registered his destination as 414 West First Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Unfortunately, his third-class ticket was for the Titanic. The other, ‘Hadman ...

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