Don McCullin was born on October 9, 1935 in Saint Pancras, London, UK, and spent his childhood in the derelict area of Finsbury Park. After the death of his father, he left school at the age of fourteen and worked at various odd jobs to support himself before being called up for two years of national service in the Royal Air Force as an assistant for aerial photography. His first reportage, on the “Guvnors” — a youth gang in his childhood neighborhood — was published in The Observer in February 1959. In 1961 he photographed in Berlin during the construction of the wall. He produced his first war assignment for The Observer in 1964, covering the civil war in Cyprus. In 1966 he began his eighteen-year affiliation with The Sunday Times Magazine, covering numerous conflicts and battlefields in the Congo, Biafra (Nigeria), Israel, Vietnam, Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, Lebanon, El Salvador, and Kurdistan (Irak), becoming one of history’s greatest war photographers.
He is the author of more than a dozen books and catalogues, including his acclaimed autobiography, Unreasonable Behaviour (1990) recently translated into Chinese; Sleeping With Ghosts (1996); a 2001’s retrospective Don McCullin; the Imperial War Museum’s Shaped by War (2010), all by Jonathan Cape); and more recently the bilingual English/Italian Don McCullin —The Impossible Peace (Skira, 2012). He is the recipient of numerous awards, including two Premier Awards from the World Press Photo, in 1964 and 1977. In 1992, McCullin became the only photojournalist to be made Commander of the British Empire (CBE), and he received in 2006 the Cornell Capa Award for Lifetime Achievement from the International Center of Photography in New York, USA.
In recent years, prolonging his ongoing landscape work in Britain, first published in Open Skies (1989), and his regular sojourns along the Ganges river published in India (1999), he has revisited the African continent, documenting the AIDS crisis in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia, and producing, in 2005, a book on the “lost tribes” of Ethiopia, Don McCullin in Africa. In 2010 his five-year work on the ruins of the Roman Empire around the Mediterranean basin was published in Southern Frontiers: A Journey Across the Roman Empire. (All by Jonathan Cape).
His photographs are exhibited worldwide to constant acclaim such. In recent years, Shaped by War toured the UK with the Imperial War Museum (Manchester, Bath, London in 2010/2013) and his most comprehensive retrospective so far, Don McCullin: The Impossible Peace, was presented in Germany (C/O Berlin, 2009-2010), Italy (Palazzo Magnani Reggio Emilia, 2012) and at the 25th edition of ‘Visa pour l’image’ in Perpignan, France in 2013.
Don McCullin has been associated with Contact Press Images since 1995. He lives with his family in Somerset, England.
Robert Knoth and Antionette de Jong
For two decades, Antoinette de Jong and Robert Knoth have covered numerous conflicts through background stories, reportages and books for various media including VPRO, NRC Handelsblad, De Standaard, BBC World Service and New York Times Magazine. They have exhibited their work extensively and won several awards, including World Press Photo and PDN.
Their work is characterised by an autonomous, modern approach with a focus on long-term documentaries that attempt to uncover the complexity of various socioeconomic or political topics and their impact on the lives of ‘ordinary’ individuals. In the process, Knoth and De Jong seek ways to merge the hyperrealism of documentary with the abstract qualities of art and literature.
After completing three short courses at the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg – Jodi Bieber participated in a photographic training programme at the Star newspaper under the late Ken Oosterbroek in 1993. She continued to work there as a photographer leading up to and during South Africa’s first democratic elections. 1996 was a turning point. She was chosen to participate in the World Press Masterclass held in Holland and started working on assignments for publications such as the New York Times magazine. Bieber also worked on special projects for non-profit organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontiere.
Over a ten-year period (1994–2004) Bieber focused on the country of her birth, South Africa – photographing youth living on the fringes of South African society. This work finally found itself a home in a book – Between Dogs and Wolves – Growing up with South Africa. It was published and released in five countries in 2006. Her most recent book Soweto was published in partnership with the Goethe Intitut and Jacana Media in May 2010.
Her iconic photograph of young mutilated Afghan woman – Aisha – featured on the cover of Time magazine in August 2010 and Bieber was awarded the 54th annual World Press Photo of the Year for the image. Bieber has previously won nine World Press Photo awards and is only the second South African photographer to win the highest honour in the contest. Bieber was a finalist in The Women of the Year in the Media Awards in South Africa 2011. Winner of the Prix de le l’Union Europeene at the Recontres de Bamako Biennale Africaine de la Photographie .She is also a brand Ambassador for the province of Gauteng in South Africa.
Her work is exhibited internationally in solo and group shows. Her mid-career show ‘Between Darkness and Light’ is now traveling in Germany. She is represented by The Goodman Gallery.
Ashley Gilbertson is a photographer with the VIIphoto agency, and a principal at Shell Shock Pictures. Gilbertson’s photographs from Iraq where he worked from 2002 until 2008, gained him recognition from the Overseas Press Club who awarded Gilbertson the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal. His first book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, was released in 2007. Since then, Gilbertson has been examining veterans issues including Post Traumatic Stress and suicide forTime Magazine, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Times. In 2007, he began working onBedrooms Of The Fallen, a collection of photographs depicting the intact bedrooms of service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. That series was published by The New York Times Magazine, and went on to win the documentary photography National Magazine Award. It will be published in book form in 2012. He lives with his wife and child in New York City.