Bert Archer recently talked with the legendary war photographer Don McCullin, who has a current exhibition – Don McCullin: A Retrospective – running until April 14 at the National Gallery in Ottawa.
“I think we shouldn’t,” he says. “I think we should deny the hundred thousand. In the end, I’ve done it, and I’ve realized it hasn’t proved its worth. Who have we convinced to stop the wars?”
But the images, I insist, now certainly overstepping the bounds of politesse by any definition, the images are the only thing most of us have to bring the story of war home. I tell him I only understood, only felt, what was happening in Rwanda when I saw an image of a river dammed with bodies.
McCullin hasn’t smiled often during the two conversations I’ve had with him over the past year, and he’s not smiling now. “Weren’t the images of Belsen and Dachau enough for you?”
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