Renowned photojournalist calls digital photography a “lying kind of experience”


posted Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11:38 AM EDT


Photojournalist Don McCullin, whose career has spanned over 50 years and has seen him receive numerous honors, said in an interview with The Guardian that digital photography cannot be trusted and that photography is being ruined by the art world.

"…Digital photography can be a totally lying kind of experience, you can move anything you want…the whole thing can't be trusted really," says McCullin. With that said, McCullin still uses digital cameras because of the fast-paced nature of the industry today. The manipulation of colors with digital photography is a particular issue for McCullin, who says that "In the end, it [manipulating colors] doesn't work, it's hideous."

Even at 80, he still goes out into the field. McCullin has spent time in a wide variety of dangerous places to document conflicts, including Lebanon, El Savador, Vietnam, the Falklands, and most recently Iraq for ten days. He is perhaps best known for his documentation of the Vietnam War and the Northern Ireland conflict.

Don McCullin receiving the World Press Photo Award in 1964. Credit: Nationaal Archief

For McCullin, photography is not an art form, but rather a means of communication. As someone who has photographed violent acts and human tragedy, he doesn't understand the art narrative of photography. See the rest of the interview with The Guardian to read more of McCullin's thoughts on digital photography and photography as art.

See below for an interview that McCullin did with The Economist in 2010 at the opening of his retrospective exhibition, Shaped by War at the Imperial War Museum. It is evident in the interview below that his lifetime of work has left him emotionally drained and deeply affected. Warning: The video below contains very graphic and violent photographs.

(Seen via Petapixel. Image of McCullin above submitted by Nationaal Archief and used through Creative Commons 3.0 Share-Alike license)