While browsing through The Guardian?s photography pages I found a trailer and piece on the documentary ?McCullen? – about photojournalist Don McCullen, who covered wars and conflicts from the 60s through to the 80s; Cyprus, Congo, Biafra, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Cambodia and Lebanon. I?ve done more taking photos than actually studying photography and photographers, so I wasn?t familiar with his work – but after the trailer and viewing some of his work I decided I?d look to see if I could find some place showing the film – I wanted to understand more about why somebody would put themselves in the situations he did. My first search found a cinema showing it, as I?d expected the Cornerhouse in Manchester was bound to be showing it.
I went to watch it last night (on my own, I figured it?s not something my friends would be interested in!) and found it fascinating and moving; showing as it did a lot of McCullen?s work, and with McCullen providing even more insight in to the terrible realities of war and its effects on its victims by describing what was behind the images and what he saw there. He described himself as a ?war junky? but while being drawn to conflicts, his treatment of the subject was to try and show its victims – the inhumanity of war – and hope to influence minds; he talks frequently about needing to justify his presence in this way.
The images shown throughout the documentary are harrowing at times, so it isn?t something for people of a sensitive disposition to watch, but it is a great insight in to the work and thinking of a talented photojournalist. Well worth a viewing. Here’s the trailer: