Don McCullun

Sir Donald McCullun born Oct 1935 was brought up in Finsbury Park, London until he was evacuated during the blitz to a farm in Somerset. He says he was not a bright fellow when growing up due to slight dyslexia and leaving school at the age of 15 without any formal qualifications. McCullun then started work catering on the railways before being called up for National Service in the RAF. During his time in the RAF he worked as a photographer’s assistant mainly in the darkroom due not passing the written exam to become a RAF photographer. In 1959 McCullun took a photo of a local London gang which was published in the Observer and then between 1966 to 1984 worked for the Sunday Times as an overseas corespondent covering war zones such as the Vietnam war and the Northern Ireland conflict.
In an interview McCullun explains how he used to travel into London by car and park a mile away from Chelsea and walk in the rest of the way dressed in a trench coat and Dr Martin boots with his Nikon F hidden under his coat. He would then proceed to wander the back streets of Chelsea all day trying to capture photographs depicting the unemployed, downtrodden and the impoverished.

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McCullun’s more recent work are a series of black and white landscape images showing the stark and bleak areas of England during the winter months, these months he proclaims to love as it shows the landscape at its hardest, the struggle, its abrasiveness, the nakedness.

Early morning, West Hartlepool, County Durham,  1963

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