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Sunday, November 13, 2011

London in your lunch break: Don McCullin's 'Shaped by War' exhibition

Other images on display focus on the bleak realities of 1960s Britain, including a desperate image of men and women foraging for coal on a frozen winter’s day in 1965.

However, it is McCullin’s uncompromising war photography that makes for his most powerful photojournalism: the agonising grief of a widow mourning the death of her husband, a rib-thin infant suckling hopelessly at a deflated breast, and the lifeless forms of fatally injured soldiers do much to highlight the futility of war. McCullin argues that in recording these atrocities he has given a voice to those who would otherwise have none.

Bringing together a harrowing and haunting collection of images, the exhibition is an unflinching account of the terrible human suffering inflicted in the name of war.

'Shaped by war': a picture gallery of Don McCullin's images

Travel time

Lambeth North underground station (Bakerloo Line) is five minutes away on foot (the museum is signposted from outside the station). The museum is also well-served for buses (see here for details), and London’s ubiquitous 'Boris Bikes’ can be docked on nearby Baylis Road, Kennington Road and Geraldine Street.

If you need to be back for a meeting?

The exhibition is best viewed at a considered pace. However, if you’re delayed en route and subsequently pushed for time, head straight for the televised interview with McCullin (played on a continuous loop; duration: 30 minutes).

The film provides a startling insight into the forces that have driven this self-confessed 'war junkie’, as well as the extraordinary lengths he went to – and terrible conditions he endured – in order to capture his most powerful and moving images.

And if your boss is away?

Head to the Children’s War exhibition (free admission), for a final chance to see a delightful recreation of a 1940s house, as well as to hear accounts of evacuation and rationing during the Second World War from a child’s perspective. Until January 3.

Have a bite to eat ...

Unrelenting images of death and starvation are unlikely to leave much appetite for lunch. However, there is a coffee kiosk within the museum’s grounds and a rose garden in which to pause and reflect.

The details

Tickets can be booked online at www.iwm.org.uk . Adults: £7, students, over 60s and disabled badge holders: £6.

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