Digital Photos Can’t Be Trusted, Says Renowned War Photographer


Don McCullin, one of the world’s great war photographers, believes that digital photography can be “a totally lying experience” and is something that can’t be trusted.

The Guardian reports that McCullin was speaking yesterday at the Photo London art fair when he lamented about digital cameras and the art world “hijacking” the world of photography.

“I have a dark room and I still process film but digital photography can be a totally lying kind of experience,” McCullin said. “You can move anything you want in it. The whole thing can’t be trusted really.”

By making reality so easy to manipulate in photos, digital photography has made it so people can no longer trust the truthfulness of images they see, McCullin says.

The iconic photographer also struggles with the fact that the art world has taken photography beyond its role as a form of visual communication and into the world of subjective art.

“I’ve always thought photography is not so much of an art form but a way of communicating and passing on information,” he says. “Many people misunderstand me – I’m quite happy to be called a photographer. All of a sudden the art world has caught up with photography and they are trying to hijack us.”

“I’ve spent most of my life embracing violence in wars and revolutions. Even a famine is a form of violence,” he continues. “Because I photograph people in peril, people in pain, people being executed in front of me, I find it very difficult to get my head around the art narrative of photography. I’ve managed to push it back and retain my place by just accepting that I’m a photographer.”

“You can see my struggle with the art world, the ‘art’ of photography. The Americans are the ones who started this artistic kind of thing, why couldn’t they just leave it alone?”

(via The Guardian via Phogotraphy)

Image credits: Header portrait by Divulgação/TV Brasil – EBC