The 5-minute Interview: Don McCullin, Photojournalist

'I'm good at getting through checkpoints with my film'
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The Independent Online

Vivid images ranging from Vietnam to Northern Ireland earned Don McCullin, 72, a reputation as one of the finest war photographers. His most recent book, 'In England', was published last year. On 1 February he is taking part in 'Friday Night Hijack' on Sky's Arts channel

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Exercising my real joy in life – landscape photography. Or making prints for my new book project, which is about Roman colonies in north Africa and the Middle East.

A phrase I use far too often...

"I wish" – it's an old man's reactionary phrase.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Their fellow men.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

To get married at the age of 67 and become the father of a lovely son, Max, whom I idolise.

A common misperception of me is...

That I'm an old misery because I've seen so many wars and revolutions and because my pictures are foreboding.

I am not a politician but...

If I was I'd want to be Minister of the Environment and I'd bring a halt to supermarkets grabbing the countryside and sucking the lifeblood out of our town and villages.

I'm good at...

Being reliable. And getting through checkpoints and bringing my film back.

I'm very bad at...

Acquiring foreign languages. And eating foreign food.

The ideal night out is...

A table for two at Le Caprice restaurant in London.

In moments of weakness I...

Go to the river below my house and watch trout in the clear waters. Then I make a cup of tea.

You know me as a photographer but in another life I'd have been...

An artist. I'd want to do something which would allow me to stand back.

The best age to be is...

40. I'd learnt something about life and I was still physically strong.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Be kind and try to bring about a better life for everyone by being more understanding.

Cormac Bakewell

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