Palazzo Esposizioni Rome hosts an extensive retrospective exhibition dedicated to the highly acclaimed British photographer, Don McCullin. This retrospective represents the most comprehensive collection of his work to date, spanning from his early works to his most recent photographs, offering a remarkable overview of his most groundbreaking experiences.
The McCullin exhibition at Palazzo Esposizioni serves as an ideal extension and enrichment of the retrospective previously displayed at Tate Britain in 2019. Also this exhibition is curated by Simon Baker, the director of Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, in close collaboration with Don McCullin and Tim Jefferies from Hamiltons Gallery, London, with the assistance of Catherine Fairweather and Jeanne Grouet.
In addition to revisiting the pivotal moments of the photographer’s illustrious career, this exhibition includes a series of photographs capturing the Roman Empire. McCullin initiated this series in the early 2000s and continues to consider it the pinnacle of his life’s work. In this series, all his central themes converge and merge: the suffering depicted in images of marginalized England, the pain of various wars across the globe, and the serenity of the Somerset landscape, where McCullin sought solace from the torment of his war experiences. Thus, in the current exhibition, pain and peace coexist in a cultural, architectural, and historical photographic exploration of the ruins of the Roman Empire in the southern Mediterranean region.
Renowned for his audacious, candid, and emotionally gripping approach across a wide range of subjects, McCullin has created some of the most instantly recognizable images of poverty, famine, and war in the history of photography. He has also documented landscapes, both domestic and international, with the distinctive style and passion that characterizes all his work.
The exhibition comprises over 200 photographs personally printed by McCullin, organized into six distinct exhibition spaces, with each gallery dedicated to one of the following groups of work: Early Work in London and Berlin, War Photographs, Documentary Practice in the United Kingdom (Bradford, Liverpool, and the North of England), International Documentary and Travel, British Landscapes and Still Life, and The Roman Empire (Architecture and Antiquity).
The exhibition coincides with the publication of the book Life, Death and Everything in Between published by Gost Books.
About the Author
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 traveled to Berlin just as the wall was being installed and built, and his resulting photographs of him earned him a contract with The Observer newspaper and his first Press Award. McCullin is recognized 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 in Rome
October 10, 2023 – January 28, 2024
Palazzo Esposizioni – Rome – Italy