Don McCullen had little to no education. He left school at 15 and applied to National Service as a photographer's assistance. His first photograph to be published was in 1959. It was of a gang in London who was involved with murder. This marked his career in photographing war and human disaster.
Ibo Soldier in Biafra Civil war. Nigeria. April 1968.
I consider his career one of the scariest and most demanding. McCullen took huge risks to just take pictures. He was threatened with a knife at a Muslim checkpoint, blinded by CS(cesium) gas in Derry, Northern Ireland, wounded by pieces of a mortar shell in Cambodia, and arrested in Uganda then taken to prison where there he witnessed many being murdered with sledgehammers. He is scared for life from these memories. He feels guilt because he feels as if he carries pieces of human flesh back home, the people in the photographs suffering again.
A murder in a Turkish village. Cyprus. 1968.
"I’d like to get away from the awful reputation of being a war photographer. I think, in a way, it’s parallel to calling me a kind of abattoir worker, somebody who works with the dead, or an undertaker or something. I’m none of those things. I went to war to photograph it in a compassionate way, and I came to the conclusion that it was a filthy, vile business. War—it was tragic, and it was awful, and I was witness to murder and terrible cruelty. So do I need a title for that? The answer is no, I don’t. I hate being called a war photographer. It’s almost an insult." -Don McCullen
Don McCullen didn't just photograph war, he was an excellent with landscape. He would photograph the battle fields of certain wars.