Don McCullin, A Space Odyssey at the BFI…….May 2019


One of the reasons I wanted to pursue a carer in photography was the work of Don McCullin. 

He is by far the best documentary photographer the world has ever seen, his images are so strong and evoke such a response, in me anyway, that I wanted to be a documentary photographer. He had a massive retrospective of his work at the Tate, so of course I had to go down and take a look. I had seen the majority of the images, but there were a few gems from his work in the ‘impoverished North’ that were new to me. It was a very busy exhibition and not ideal to stop and linger in front of the prints, but then quite a lot weren’t the sort of images you would want to linger in front of.

His work made me want my work to make a difference.

Whilst at college in London I went on all the marches and found myself being chased on many occasions, sometimes by the police, but mainly by the far right.

The problem was I couldn’t help but get involved…… I soon realised that being a documentary photographer was not for me.

But, McCullin’s work showed me the power of the visual image and the feeling that I wanted my work to say something has always stayed with me.

And….based on messages that I have received and talking to people I have met at the exhibitions, I do feel that my work with the Shifting Perspectives group has affected a change in many peoples minds about Down’s syndrome and I am more than happy about that.

2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY is one of those films that apparently everyone should’ve seen.  Late at night I have turned on the TV and seen chimps throwing sticks in the air, but never got much further and have never seen it all the way through.

The BFI on the South bank were showing the original 70mm film, so me and Fi took ourselves along. Well…… was 50 years ago and it is pretty outdated but incredibly futuristic at the same time. We giggled when we saw ‘Rigsby’ turn up, but then the ‘FaceTime’ call from the space station orbiting the moon was way ahead of its time. Hal the computer didn’t have nearly a big enough part and then it gets all very weird and psychedelic and very loud for a long time! It certainly makes you think about it, and I am still thinking about it, but I can’t say I would rush to watch it again.

Not the best film review ever, but pretty weird and very loud about sums it up.