Arise Sir Don: A photographic knight celebrates services to photojournalism

Posted on by Mike Evans

Photo: Wiki Commons

Come the end of the year and we find out who has added a letter or two after their name and those who now have permission to add a title in front.  The list of knights and dames is usually dominated by rock stars, actors and politicians, many of whom are obscure civil servants. If they sit behind their desk long enough they get to call themselves Sir. 

It is a rare pleasure, then, to recognise a name from the photographic world: Don McCullin, the famed British photojournalist who has never spent much time behind a desk. Instead, he had been out photographing prominent personalities and visiting the most dreadful war zones and crises of the second half of the last century.

Born in 1935 and raised in London, Sir Don left school at 15 and at 18 started his then-compulsory national service —  in his case in the Royal Air Force. He became a photographer's assistant in the Suez Canal Zone during the 1956 crisis and received a thorough grounding in darkroom techniques and the theory of photography.

After his return to Britain he started serious photography. From 1966 to 1984 worked as an overseas correspondent for the Sunday Times Magazine. Read more here.


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