Child and the Unknown by Wynn Bullock
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Gelatin silver print
Stamped 'WYNN BULLOCK 155 Mar Vista Dr. Monterey, California' and annotated '29', in pencil, au print verso
Printed in 1950s
Wynn Bullock (1902 – 1975) was born Percy Wingfield Bullock in Chicago in 1902, and was raised in South Pasadena, California. His first career choice was singing, and during the mid-twenties he performed as a tenor in New York City and Europe before becoming fascinated with European Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Then he discovered the work of Man Ray and Moholy–Nagy and bought his first camera.
In the late 1930s, Bullock studied under Edward Kaminski at the Art Center School, Los Angeles, and became deeply interested in alternative processes. After graduation he worked as a commercial photographer before enlisting in the Army, which released Bullock to photograph for the aircraft industry in support of the war effort. In 1948 Bullock met and was influenced by Edward Weston, and spent the 1950s developing his own vision; one deeply connected to nature. Edward Steichen chose two of Bullock’s prints for The Family of Man exhibition in 1955. By the end of that decade, the artist was being featured in exhibitions and publications worldwide.
Bullock was a tireless experimenter and learner, and into his work he incorporated his reading of such influences as Einstein, Bertrand Russell, and Paul Klee – and evolved his own system of dynamic principles and concepts. In the 1960s he was a pioneer in color light abstraction, which proved in part to be ahead of its time in terms of technology to support and reproduce it. He then returned to making black and white photographs, creating images that reflected his deeply philosophical nature. Bullock differentiated “reality” from “existence” and used his work to search for the underlying truth of things. He is considered one of the finest printers in the photography field.
Bullock suffered from cancer in the 1970s, succumbing to the disease in 1975. Many of his works from the period seem to glow with light, and pulse with energy, emanating from the heart of his subject matter. Always a generous lecturer and teacher, Bullock was one of five photographers whose archives established the Center for Creative Photography, at the University of Arizona. In his lifetime, the artist won numerous awards and was granted patents for technical innovations in photographic processes. Wynn Bullock’s works are found in several major collections, both public and private
“Mysteries lie all around us, even in the most familiar things, waiting only to be perceived.” - Wynn Bullock
Artist Bio (PDF)
Getty acquires trove of work from 17 influential photographers - The Los Angeles Times, March 2017
'Unsettled' images: Oklahoma City Museum of Art is showcasing uncanny photographs from its permanent collection in the new exhibit 'The Unsettled Lens' - News OK, February 2017
The Center for Photographic Art and Ufincino Uno Gallery each stage a photo show - Monterey County Weekly, October 2013
In the galleries: Finding the unknown in what is known - The Washington Post