Wednesday, 20 November 2013

We are alike you and I: Don McCullin and Lorenzo Vitturi



Don McCullin has spoken about how few people are photographing conflict and destruction overseas and missing out on the ongoing conflict social destruction and in Britain.

It made me think of a few things that I have mentioned before on this blo, especially regarding Jim Mortram. Firstly, that there are people documenting the social changes happening in Britain, but most of the time those social changes are so wrapped up in the generic formulas of art/documentary photography that the message gets lost and the photographs only become for those au fait and fully converted to the machinations of photographic representation. And complex as these machinations can be, most of the time they are as generic as a family album.

Sometimes it's the directness that matters. McCullin is direct in his photography (see the above image by McCullin), so perhaps that's where he's coming from. And perhaps Old School might be better than New School in this respect, taking Old School in the broadest story-telling sense.

And if you take it that way, then perhaps Old School isn't really that Old School after all. My favourite book of the moment is  Lorenzo Vitturi's Dalston Anatomy, a book that seems fresh and vivid and new. But embedded within it are elements that reflect on the ethnic and economic cleansing of one particular area of London. It might be eliptical and lack the directness I mentioned above, but it's there, just a fingernail scratch beneath the bright colours and powdered paint.

I'm probably way off on this and I've got a feeling I doubled back on myself somewhere along the line there, but a post that connects Don McCullin, Jim Mortram and Lorenzo Vitturi?; it has to be!


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