Don McCullin is a photojournalism icon. He’s spent his life chasing haunting images that, more often than not, he’s succeeded in capturing. And even though his career has taken him all over the world — to Cyprus, the Congo, Biafra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, El Salvador, and the Middle East among others — one thing has sed the same throughout his journeys: he’s always shot film.
In this short documentary put together for Canon Professional Network by ICE Productions, he takes his first go at using a digital camera and discovers the potential (and potential pitfalls) of the technology.
We’ll go ahead and warn you that the dramatic and interesting documentary does, at times, feel a bit like a Canon advertisement. But once you get over that, it’s fascinating to get McCullin’s take on digital as he “embark[s] on a technical journey” with the help of Canon Ambassador Jeff Ascough.
In a way, you get to see the best of both the old and the new merge as McCullin becomes more comfortable with his 5D Mark III. The potential of digital is mixed with the patience that he has developed over many years spent shooting film. There’s no taking a picture and then looking immediately at the LCD, he’s content to wait and see what turned out later, always keeping his eye on the subject.
We won’t give anything more away, so if you want to hear more of the photojournalism icon’s thoughts on the digital world (including an interesting back and forth about post-processing) you’ll want to carve out the full 27 minutes out of your day and give the documentary its due.
And even if you’re not interested in the content, just the fact that Canon managed to snag McCullin up for this documentary in the first place is interesting in and of itself — after all, a Nikon literally took a bullet for him in 1968.