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Don McCullin is an incredible photographer ... the creator of numerous iconic photos of war and conflict, tragedy and trauma, people and their environment. This autobiography takes the reader through his remarkable life and vast array of experiences in so many of the world's most troubled settings: he has portrayed and revealed to us shell-shocked soldiers, point-blank assassination, massacres in refugee camps, starvation, poverty, HIV/AIDS (South Africa, Zambia, Botswana), and so much more.
His autobiography chronicles these impressive achievements (photos, prizes, exhibitions, awards) as well as some of the difficulties of working in such settings. He also takes us through the impact of his work on his personal and family life, the newspaper industry in the UK and his relationships with journalists, photographers and editors.
Interesting and evocative, it nevertheless stopped somewhat short of deeply engaging the reader in contemplating being at the site of evil, cruelty, community demise, wonderment or joy - and holding some responsibility for communicating this to the world. He does not really push us, the readers, to consider the challenges and dilemmas faced behind the lines or on the front line; the ethics of witnessing; the difficulties of communicating stories of pain, suffering and resilience, or even how images are selected given the role of the market and politics. We get glimpses of these issues through his words but somehow so much more is left unsaid. The images tell it all, however.
[[Audible should work on facilitating the display of images alongside audio in some of its books....(yes, I know there would be copyright issues...). How wonderful it would have been to have the text accompanied by photographs, and to glimpse some of McCullin's other great photographic projects - people in India, ancient monuments in Syria, African and Amazonian people struggling for continuity of culture and language...]]
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I'm not exaggerating.
I found this book interesting and occasionally very gripping, from start to finish. Johnathan Keeble reads it extremely well, and maintains consistency over the 13+ hours of the story. McCullin has led an extraordinary life; one that few of us would ever want to have lived ourselves, yet he's able to write about it with that blend of dispassionate observer and compassionate participant that makes for the kind of story that would, in great part, make a best-selling thriller in its own right.
On the day I finished listening to this audiobook, the news came that McCullin had been awarded a knighthood in the 2017 New Year Honours. Very appropriate.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful