Don McCullin: A Retrospective

November 1, 2013 to January 12, 2014

Don McCullin, Catholic youth escaping a CS gas assault in the Bogside, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 1971. Gelatin silver print. © Don McCullin / Contact Press Images

Don McCullin, Homeless Irishman, Aldgate, East End, London, 1970

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada

An unflinching photojournalist best known for his coverage of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones, Don McCullin has also created an important body of social documentary work in his native Britain as well as a recent series of lyrical, brooding landscapes.

Don McCullin: A Retrospective comprises an exhibition of approximately 140 black-and-white photographic prints drawn from several collections, including works from all of his major series: portraits of the poor and the homeless in London and northern England (1950s to 1970s); the construction of the Berlin Wall (1961); war and famine in Cyprus, the Congo, Biafra, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lebanon, Ireland and Iraq (1963-91); elephant festivals in India (1989-98); and landscapes in Somerset, England, and northern France (1988-2000). Also included are films and interviews with McCullin, as well as magazines and contact prints relating to past assignments.

McCullin’s photographs from the battlefields belong to a tradition of war art practised by Francisco de Goya, Otto Dix, Robert Capa, and others, who sought to communicate in images the horrors of human conflict. Particularly compelling for their narrative depth, sombre lighting, and powerful composition, McCullin’s photographs convey the intensity and intimacy of his human encounters. Late in his career, haunted by nightmares, McCullin retreated from war, turning his lens to the peaceful countryside around him. In this exhibition, the artist’s journey from working class England to the killing fields to the landscape of Arthurian myth reveals his searing outrage and profound compassion.

McCullin’s photographs have been published in major newspapers and magazines, including The Observer, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. 

Don McCullin: A Retrospective is curated by Ann Thomas, Curator of Photographs at the National Gallery of Canada.

This exhibition contains mature content.

Media Reviews:

Photojournalist's show a grim reminder of the horrors of war - CBC, Alison Gillmor - November 8, 2013

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