Donald McCullin
[Photographer, b. 1935, Finsbury Park, London, lives in Somerset, England.]

 The real struggle now takes place in my darkroom where I try to resist the temptation of printing my pictures too dark. 
 I realized that you could shoot photographs until the cows came home but they have nothing to do with real humanity, real memories, real feelings. 
 Although I take my work seriously I cannot take myself seriously. When you think of it, everything has happened by accident. I have always believed that I don’t own my photography, rather that it owns me. It gave me a life, an extraordinary life which could never be repeated. I feel as if the gift of seeing what is really going on in the world is mine only so long as I put it to proper use. There is nothing to be claimed and nothing to regret, except that we go on treating our fellow human beings so badly. 
 I’m like an old junkie, in a way. You don’t stick syringes in your arm—you go straight for the most important part of your body, the brain. You are destroying it the moment you go to your first war. 
 The darkroom can be cruel. You have to talk your way through your printing, alone, sometimes you turn the radio on and listen to trash music. When I finish, I wash everything meticulously, I dust everything, it’s like paying a homage to the spiritual power that could destroy me. And I won’t let it. Something else will destroy me—but it won’t be the darkroom, it won’t be photography. I am very strong, nearly ninety nine percent of me is strong and fortified all around. But I am sure there is a crack, somewhere behind me, in my make-up, where the damage will get in and destroy me. 
 The camera was a key to open up my life. It was like opening a huge window to the world. It gave me education, it gave me hope, it gave me travel, and in the end, after giving me all those things, it started taking things away from me. It took my mind away from me, it took things back from me. You don’t own those things in the beginning. You don’t own yourself in the beginning, you’re just dumped on this earth and you have to stand up and try to walk and try to get through it. 
 It wasn’t my fault if in Sabra and Shatila the light was almost biblical, if what happened in front of my eyes was like a scene out of Goya. 
quotes 25-31 of 31
first page previous page page 4 of 4
display quotes