Don McCullin, described in the Bristol Review of Books as “the twentieth century’s greatest war photographer” is featured at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath at the largest ever UK exhibition about his work. The Bristol Review may be prone to hyperbole since their main feature is on McCullin but the 75 year old’s reputation is indeed international.
His work on Vietnam – Battle for Hue and the Siege of Derry for the Sunday Times is celebrated in “Things As They Are – Photojournalism in Context Since 1955”. From Vietnam, “McCullin’s photographs are dramatically harrowing in their depiction of the battlefield, and almost painfully intimate when showing the soldiers’ dedication to each other” (p.156) while from Derry, his portfolio of 12 pictures about the escalating conflict in Northern Ireland was the lead just before Christmas in 1971 (p.192).
The exhibition in Bath is timed to mark McCullin’s 75th birthday and many items are on public display for the very first time. ‘Shaped by War’ comprises more than 160 items and mementoes (including a Nikon camera body damaged by a bullet).Included are some of his elegiac Somerset landscapes and prints from his most recent projects on frontiers of the Roman Empire.
Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Bath, BA2 4AT, 11 September – 21 November 2010