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GOST Books : Don McCullin : Life, Death and Everything in Between


Life, Death and Everything in Between presents key photographs by Don McCullin. The 140 images in the book—some rarely published or previously unseen—were edited by McCullin through the process of revisiting his archives and reassessing photographs made from the late 1950s until last year. The book aims to be neither a retrospective nor definitive publication, but to present a selection of images valued by McCullin with the benefits of both hindsight and wisdom, encapsulating his prolific, varied and ongoing career.

The publication of the book coincides with the exhibition Don McCullin in Rome – a Retrospective from 10 October – 28 January at Palazzo delle Esposizioni.

The book opens with McCullin’s documentary photographs made in London in the 1950s, followed by reportage made in conflicts across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia. More recent photographs in the book link the legacy of the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean and the latest, previously unpublished landscapes made near his home in Somerset.

‘Known for the bold, frank and always emotionally engaging gaze with which he approached the most disparate subjects, McCullin produced some of the most recognisable images of poverty, hunger and war in the history of photography, as well as documenting the landscape—both in Britain and abroad—with the style and passion that distinguishes all his work.’ – Simon Baker

Don McCullin (b. 1935) grew up in Finsbury Park, and his early photographs reflect the people and places that he knew well. He began taking photographs during his military service and brought his camera back with him to the UK, beginning what would be a life-long commitment to photography.

In 1961 McCullin travelled to Berlin just as the wall was being installed and built, and his resulting photographs earned him a contract with the Observer newspaper and his first Press Award. McCullin is recognised internationally as one of the greatest war photographers having worked for major British newspapers during some of the most violent conflicts of the late twentieth-century. His work in Vietnam cemented his reputation for both bravery and compassion.

The moral imperative to show war as it really was continued throughout his career and time spent in Biafra, Bangladesh, Lebanon and the so-called ‘troubles’ in 1970s Northern Ireland. Despite vowing to stop photographing wars and conflict in 1979, McCullin continued, periodically, to return to action, documenting the repression of the Kurds in Iraq in the early 90s, the second Iraq War in 2003, and even more recently, Syria.

For most of his career McCullin has embarked on personal projects, many of which focused on working class communities in the north of England, or the unhoused in London. He has also maintained relationships with parts of the world outside his practice as a war photographer—in particular India, Southern Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

In addition, McCullin has produced landscape photographs for over forty years, developing an elegiac vision of the British landscape. Recently, McCullin embarked on what he considers his final epic project, a cultural and architectural survey of the remains of the Roman Empire in the southern Mediterranean.


Don McCullin : Life, Death and Everything in Between
GOST Books
November 2023
RRP £80 | €90 | $95
224 pages
142 images
280 x 360 mm portrait format
Hardback clothbound


Don McCullin in Rome – a Retrospective is on display from 10 October – 28 January at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome Italy.

The exhibition is curated by Simon Baker, Director of Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris.

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