Post 7 “Shellshock” McCullin

This week I have had a hard time locating anymore source documents on our photo, or McCullin himself during the time period during and around Vietnam. In the posts I have made earlier I brought up some points I have found in my research and rather than piling more theories and conclusions about the reception of our photo. I want to instead arrange the points I made earlier into some sort of order over the next few weeks posts. And bring them in to how I want to ultimately write about them in my research paper. This will also serve as a better reference as to what direction I am going with the research I have done so far. And since the immediate reception of the photo is my part of the research paper, and the photos release is still unclear, aside from knowing it was not released immediately. I want to use my photo more as a representative of all the brutally honest photos that came out Vietnam, and the reception that these photos as a whole received back home, and the effects they had on our society.

And so for this weeks post I want to focus on the fact that the Vietnam War was the first publically accessible war because the technology of the day allowed for this possibility, and the American public began to question the government for the first time in our history. This had profound impact on the way Americans would view warfare, seeing now that war was not like the traditional view of hero off to war, to fight for what’s right. As the photos began to funnel back home in droves of uncensored certainty that war was ugly, dirty, and unromantic, with it came a powerful shift in in our society that would not back such violence and horror overseas, a thousand miles away to them. The other countries of the world, including the US saw this fact and began to censor the press from the wars following Vietnam. McCullin was not allowed in the Falklands during the war involving Britain. The UK using stall tactics and lies to screen him from entering with his camera.

So to sum it all up the two points I would like to pull out here is that the photo’s reception by the people was that of disgust, but serving as a motivating force to stop violence towards the people of Vietnam, and ultimately the world. And the reception by the American government and countries leaders around the world was that of fear, for the truth about war being shown to the people for the first time and freely accessible they were losing support for the war and causing problems for the higher levels of government to operate “freely” so to speak.




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