Shaped by War - Don McCullin exhibition review


Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
We spent a couple of hours at the weekend at the Imperial War Museum visiting the exhibition "Shaped by War" showing the work of Don McCullin. I know this is not new but it is well worth catching before it finishes in April. It's timed tickets and at the moment it is possible to get 2 for 1, so it is good value.

We arrived an hour early and had time to walk around some of the other exhibits including the Secret War and Holocaust displays. The McCullin exhibition is very well curated, with a sensible flow and exceptional presentation of his work, both familiar and less well known. There are other exhibits of his cameras and kit which add an additional dimension to the overall effect. There are interactive touchscreen exhibits that give timeline and context to McCullin's work. Some of the detail made me smile - he speaks of going on assignment with three cameras, 30 rolls of film and a box of Ready Brek...

Overall McCullin comes across as an exceptionally talented man with a strong streak of humility who has a genuine interest in people. His work is stunning, particularly when printed large, and its impact has not waned over the years. McCullin has clearly been touched by what he has witnessed and it has effected his private life - something that is hinted at but not gone into in any depth. The last part of the exhibition focusses on his more recent work and I couldn't help but feel that he continues to use his cameras as a form of therapy to distance himself from the horrors of war.

Well worth a visit.