Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin

December 14, 2011 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Books, Events | 0 Comments |
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Shaped by War is the largest ever UK exhibition about the life and work of one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers, Don McCullin. On show at IWM London until 15 April 2012, the exhibition brings together McCullin’s frontline work from conflicts all over the world including the confrontation between East and West Berlin, Vietnam and Cambodia, the conflicts of the Middle East and the intense human suffering in Biafra and Bangladesh. These are displayed alongside McCullin’s photographs of more recent conflicts such as the Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The exhibition is accompanied by a book, Don McCullin: Shaped by War, published by Jonathan Cape in association with IWM. The 208-page hardback has an RRP of £25.

IWM Press Release

Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin

7 October 2011 – 15 April 2012

Shaped by War is the largest ever UK exhibition about the life and work of one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers Don McCullin. The exhibition, which features around 250 photographs, contact sheets, objects, magazines and personal memorabilia, opens in an updated form at IWM London this October following a highly successful run at IWM North last year.

Don McCullin has photographed war for more than 50 years and many of his iconic black and white images have come to shape our awareness of modern conflict and its consequences. Shaped by War brings together McCullin’s frontline work from conflicts all over the world including the confrontation between East and West Berlin, Vietnam and Cambodia, the conflicts of the Middle East and the intense human suffering in Biafra and Bangladesh. These are displayed alongside McCullin’s photographs of more recent conflicts such as the Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.

A number of significant portraits, which have been rarely seen in public, have also been released by McCullin especially for the exhibition at IWM London. These include several haunting images of anonymous victims of wars around the world plus two portraits of Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry whose series of brave actions in Iraq in 2004 saw him awarded a Victoria Cross. The stunning principal photograph captures the tattoo of a Victoria Cross which covers Beharry’s back, and was the first digital photograph by McCullin to ever go on public display. It was commissioned by IWM in 2010 for the opening of its Extraordinary Heroes exhibition in The Lord Ashcroft Gallery at IWM London.

Shaped by War examines key moments in McCullin’s life including his early years during the Second World War when he experienced both evacuation and the Blitz. After completing his National Service in the RAF Photographic Unit McCullin discovered photojournalism and the exhibition studies his early commissions and reports from Berlin in 1961 and Cyprus in 1964. His seminal work for The Sunday Times Magazine goes on to provide a huge amount of material for the exhibition, while documents from IWM’s archives tell the full story of his controversial exclusion from the 1982 Falklands Conflict. A newly commissioned video interview with Don McCullin provides the backbone of Shaped by War.

The exhibition also contemplates the moral dilemmas faced by McCullin as a witness to and photographer of conflict and its human cost, as well as McCullin’s approach to the changes seen in both photography and journalism throughout his career.

Don McCullin says: ‘I’ve had exhibitions all over the world but this is the biggest splash you will ever see. I’m pleased to have an exhibition in my home country, at IWM London, because I’ve travelled so much and I like to show what I’ve seen. It’s particularly important to younger generations who will inherit tomorrow’s world.

Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM, says: ‘Don McCullin is one of the greatest living photographers so we’re very pleased to be working with him to share even more of his exceptional war work at IWM London. As a photojournalist documenting the major conflicts of the past 50 years, McCullin showed great courage and integrity to produce a vast number of images which, brought together for this exhibition, serve as a powerful reminder of the impact of war on ordinary people.’

The exhibition, which captures the relentlessness of war and its global effects in the twentieth century, is a unique collaboration between Don McCullin and IWM. Most of the black and white images have been handprinted by McCullin himself, while he has also allowed the museum to display his images using lightboxes, large format prints and projections for the first time. The exhibition also includes newly commissioned footage by IWM featuring McCullin reappraising his career. A number of significant objects have also been loaned by the photographer including the US Issue Army Helmet he wore in Vietnam, which gives a sense of his uncompromising drive to document events from the frontline.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book, Don McCullin: Shaped by War, published by Jonathan Cape in association with IWM.

Events

A series of talks, conferences and tours inspired by Shaped by War are taking place throughout the exhibition’s run:

Don McCullin in conversation with Kate Adie
18 October 2011
7pm
‘Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then
you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.’
Don McCullin’s life has been shaped by war. His career has been distinguished not only by his exceptional talent as a photographer but by his strong personal empathy for victims of conflict. Here he talks about his life and work with broadcaster and journalist Kate Adie.
£15 adult, £12 concessions. Ticket includes a private view of Shaped by War after the event

Considering Vietnam – Conference
17 and 18 February 2012
10.30am – 4pm
The Vietnam War is evolving from contemporary memory into history. This conference explores how the media and popular culture have shaped our understanding of the Vietnam War. Speakers will include veteran journalists Don McCullin, Michael Nicholson and Philip Knightley.
Produced in association with the University of the Arts Photography and Archive Research Centre and the London College of Communication.
Two day ticket: £90 adult/£50 concession. One day ticket: £50 adult/ £30 concession. Ticket includes admission to Shaped by War on the day of the event as well as lunch and refreshments. Please note if the exhibition is very busy we may ask you to wait for a short time.

Photographing Afghanistan: Crucial Exposure
In association with the Media Society
6 March 2012
7pm
In 1980 Don McCullin carried out a difficult and arduous assignment to photograph the conflict between Mujahideen insurgents and Soviet armed forces in Afghanistan. Armed with two Nikon cameras and 30 rolls of film, he hiked for miles on foot, seeking defining images of the conflict. In this he was unsuccessful. Today Afghanistan is still at war and photographers still seek to capture those defining images of conflict. What has changed?
Broadcaster and journalist Edward Stourton chairs this event in which leading photographers, including Don McCullin and Donovan Wylie, discuss the challenges faced by professional photographers working in Afghanistan during the last thirty years.
£15 adult, £12 concessions. Ticket includes a private view of Shaped by War after the event.

Curator Talks

Join Shaped by War Curator and Head of Photography Hilary Roberts in a series of themed talks examining the evolution, issues, successes and failures of war photography:

Introduction to War Photography
22 October 2011
2pm
What makes war photography different? Enjoy an overview of the history of war photography while examining the key influences on photographers who take war as their subject.
£12 adult, £11 concessions. Ticket includes admission into the exhibition
Interpreting War Photographs
26 November 2011
2pm
Why do some photographs, such as Don McCullin’s portrait of a shell-shocked marine in Vietnam, stay in our minds while others are ignored or forgotten? How can we distinguish between fact and fiction in war photography? This talk offers an introduction to reading and understanding war photographs.
£12 adult, £11 concessions. Ticket includes admission into the exhibition

The Photography of Don McCullin
21 January 2012
2pm
For more than 50 years, Don McCullin’s photographs have shaped our awareness of modern conflict and its consequences. His courage and integrity, as well as the exceptional quality of his work, are a continuing inspiration and influence worldwide. This talk gives an overview of his life and work.
£12 adult, £11 concessions. Ticket includes admission into the exhibition
Photography and 21st Century Conflicts
24 March 2012
2pm

The development of the Internet, social media and digital technology presents new challenges and opportunities for photographers who take war as their subject. This talk examines these technologic developments and their impact on war photography of some of the most recent conflicts and will feature some of IWM’s photographic acquisitions of 21st century conflict
£12 adult, £11 concessions. Ticket includes admission into the exhibition

Admission: Adults £7, Concessions £6. Box office 020 7416 5439, tickets will also be available online from August. For further information visit: http://www.iwm.org.uk



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