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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 6. 1971


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Over the past decade the world's press has chronicled the progress of man's many wars with the use of well chosen words and pictures. To a very great extent much of the horror and agony has been lost and the misery of thousands forgotten. War has become nothing more than some kind of morbid entertainment. Pictures showing death, starvation, victory, defeat have been used to excite our placid and routine lives instead of being used to shock us into realizing that war is evil and barbaric.

Irrespective of the ways in which the magazines and newspapers use the photographs sent to them, one thing is undeniable - war photographers are brave men. From this small select band one photographer's pictures have appeared in virtually every major newspaper or news magazine. His name is Don McCullin. For the past few years he has successfully gambled his life in an attempt to bring back meaningful pictures of war in all its aspects. In his pictures he captures the horror and pathos of suffering nations. Some of his photographs repulse the viewer, others bring all the humanity of man bubbling to the surface. Unfortunately, humanity in our day and age does not stop wars. The people of the world must be shocked into realizing that war is totally pointless. The tragedy of this situation is that the photographs which can shock us and make us realize the futility of war never reach the pages of the mass media. They are stopped by conscientious picture editors who are either afraid or are told not to publish them for fear of 'offending' readers.

Surely, if our society, is prepared to support and accelerate war then we should similarly be prepared to face the results.

In this issue you must do just this. You will find some of the most shocking and heart-breaking pictures ever published. They have not been printed to satisfy your morbid curiosity. They are there for two reasons: first, to show the brutality that is going on this moment in the world and secondly, to give an indication of the environment that photographers, such as Don McCullin, work in. In the interview McCullin tells of his experiences, his career, technique and his attitude towards his work. There is no doubt that these pages will offend some people and cause adverse comments. Before anyone puts pen to paper to object, remember that the photographs you look at were taken months, maybe years, ago, but similar photographs will be taken as you read this feature—and they will go on being taken until we do something to stop it!

Photo of a corpse