I have the pictures to prove it.
September 19, 2022 6:59 AM   Subscribe

[CW: violence against animals] War photographer Don McCullin: ‘Wherever I go, there seems to be violence and death” — interview with Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian, 19 Sep 2022. From Vietnam to Biafra, he captured war and suffering with shocking power. The great photographer talks about his tough childhood, the film Angelina Jolie is making about him – and the shots that still haunt his sleep. WP bio, website, images.
posted by cenoxo (7 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
An interesting insight into the life of Snowy the Mouse Man:
[McCullin] was driving with his wife to Cambridge when he spotted a man in a top hat selling ice cream from a barrow. Mice were running around the brim of his headwear. Captivated, he asked to visit the man, called Snowy, at home to take his picture. “He put a mouse into his beard and it climbed into his mouth. Then he went away and came back with a big rake. I said, ‘Snowy, that cat has just killed one of your mice.’ He picked up the cat and started bashing it like in Tom and Jerry. This old man who everybody thought was sweet is an illustration of the kind of people who are out there. Wherever I go, there seems to be violence and death. You can’t miss in England.”
I remember Snowy: he used to stand in Cambridge market square every Saturday afternoon, with his cat and mice, collecting money for charity. I always thought he was creepy as fuck, but people loved him. After he died they put up a sculpture in his memory.
posted by verstegan at 7:29 AM on September 19 [3 favorites]

I think he has a point about photojournalism. In recent years, I've felt like the intensely colored, high-resolution images we get of war zones are too cinematic; they make terrible things look artistic and vivid. This image from the New York Times, for instance, with how it captures the flames and smoke of the cars on fire, and handles the contrast between bright and dark so well, and it has this great depth of field.

These are the cameras we have access to now. So the decisions have to be made at some point that is not about the technology, but about integrity and clarity of purpose. Which our leaders and media lack.
posted by Well I never at 9:02 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]

Alternate archive.today link for that NYT story and image.
posted by cenoxo at 9:29 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]

McCullin's work is making me think of Emmet Till's mother inviting the press to his open-casket funeral and recent conversations about releasing crime-scene photos of the Uvalde shootings to make what happened that much more real.

I agree with you Well I never. We don't see dark images unless something is on fire. People are photographed from a distance and there's far less agony on their faces than we've seen in the past or from photographers like McCullin. I don't enjoy - or want to exploit - the pain of people suffering but if the purpose of news photos is to give us a sense of the tragedy involved in the event, photos in the media don't really do that. We see photos of community gatherings or images of a community rallying together to comfort us or photos of anger around the processes involved in the event (these are my impressions related to the Uvalde shooting) but not much that motivates us to change.

I have to wonder how the NRA convention that same week would have been affected by Uvalde crime-scene photos.
posted by bendy at 7:35 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]

Rare Historical Photos > Three dead Americans lie on the beach at Buna 1943, by LIFE photographer George Strock (WP bio):
At a time when censors used a heavy hand to keep the American public from knowing and seeing the carnage in the Pacific during World War II, this ground-breaking photograph of dead American soldiers confronted the American public for the first time with the real face of the war. It showed the bodies of three American soldiers who had been killed on Buna Beach in New Guinea.

Though none of the men were recognizable, the photo was arresting in its stark depiction of the stillness of the death and then shocking when it became clear on second glance that maggots had claimed the body of one of the soldiers faced down on the sand.

The photo was taken by LIFE’s photojournalist George Strock. Images that Strock took of dead American GIs were not published because the U.S Office of Censorship prohibited their publication, as they refused to allow any pictures of American soldiers killed in combat.

LIFE editorialized that “we think that occasional pictures of Americans who fall in action should be printed. The job of men like Strock is to bring the war back to us, so that we who are thousands of miles removed from the dangers and the smell of death may know what is at stake”.

The case went to the White House, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt finally approved its publication….
Details follow in the RHP article; more images by George Strock.
posted by cenoxo at 3:22 AM on September 20

Photographer Tim Page passed away recently with no mention on the blue
posted by scruss at 5:53 AM on September 20 [1 favorite]

How Newsrooms Handle Graphic Images of Violence — Are images of violence and death too distressing to publish—or too important to ignore?, Nieman Reports [*], January 6, 2016:
[NOTE: This article has a few examples of graphic images, more tragic than gruesome.]

…With the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq, frequent mass shootings in the U.S., and terrorist incidents such as the massacre in Paris, newsrooms are faced with constant decisions over the use of graphic or distressing images. What rules, if any, should news organizations follow when deciding whether to publish such images? Has the easy availability of graphic content on social media numbed audiences to tragedy? What effect does the production and consumption of such images have on journalists, editors, and their audiences? And does publishing emotive pictures like that of Alan Kurdi risk tipping stories from reportage into advocacy?

Yet the discussion is also familiar. Many of the most iconic news images of the last 100 years—a 9-year-old girl fleeing a napalm attack in Vietnam; the burned Iraqi soldier who died climbing from a car in the first Gulf War; Richard Drew’s “Falling Man” who jumped from a World Trade Center tower on 9/11; the dead passengers of the downed Malaysian Airlines plane in Ukraine—have been accompanied by debates about the ethics of their publication. Part of their power stems precisely from the fact that they show moments of pain and death usually hidden from view. It’s difficult to look at these images, and difficult to look away….
More discussion in the article. “Photographs are the screams of the world.

*Wikipedia > Nieman Foundation for Journalism — Journalism institution at Harvard University. The foundation is the home of Nieman Reports, a quarterly journal on journalism issues published for more than 60 years.
posted by cenoxo at 4:55 AM on September 21

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