Throughout his career, Don McCullin has found himself on the edge of civilization looking in, capturing scenes as they unfold with an irresistible intuition, evoking our innermost feelings and rawest state of what it is to feel alive. Undoubtedly conflict and disaster have never left him, having documented almost every major humanitarian disaster of the last half-century, but it is his landscape images that enable him to find solace and create shared moments of peace and stillness with his viewer.
This online presentation allows a focused insight into McCullin’s platinum printing, a photographic process that delivers an infinite tonal range unattainable in his more conventional gelatin silver prints. Unlike the silver print process, platinum lies on the paper surface and has an ability to draw out and emphasize subtle detail in multiple layers, ideally suited to McCullin’s meditative landscapes that resonate with human emotion.
Boats that collect sand from the Ganges river, Patna, India
Along the Ganges during the Sonepur Mela Festival
The Pushkar Fair, India
In order to create these images, McCullin has collaborated with specialist printers of platinum and platinum-palladium prints, 31 Studio based in Stroud, the first of its kind to be set up in the United Kingdom. McCullin says that his platinums are an attempt to bring some balance to his work, and maybe to his memories. ‘This work is therapeutic,’ he says. ‘I couldn’t be happier than when I am standing out on a cold winter morning waiting for the right light. The platinums are the essence. They are as far as you can go with what I am trying to do and say.’
The Stillness of Life
At home in Somerset, Sir Don McCullin CBE talks about photographing the landscape ahead of his exhibition ‘The Stillness of Life’ at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. This personal survey of over 60 landscape photographs includes scenes across the United Kingdom, Europe and further afield, revealing the photographer’s innermost feelings through powerful compositions of wild heavens, haunting vistas and meditative still lifes.
In May 2020, The International Center of Photography honored McCullin with the Lifetime Infinity Award for his longstanding contribution to photography. Founded by Cornell Capa in 1974, The International Center of Photography is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Previous recognition includes two Premier Awards from World Press Photo, the 2006 ICP Infinity Awards Cornell Capa Award, and the 2016 Master of Photography at Photo London.
About the artist
Sir Don McCullin CBE is one of the most important photographers of the late twentieth century, best known for his broad war reportage and critical social documentation. Between 1966 and 1984, he worked for The Sunday Times Magazine under Editor-in-Chief Harold Evans and Art Editor David King. He has since traveled to India, Africa and the Middle East, raising awareness of global humanitarian issues and war-torn countries with unflinching honesty.