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Wynn Bullock

(1902—1975)


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Edward Weston (1886—1958)

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(1902–75).

Photographer. His technically experimental early work, influenced by László Moholy-Nagy's example, gave way after he met Edward Weston in 1948 to a precisely realistic technique, put to the service of metaphors for the mysterious nature of existence. Born in Chicago, Percy Wingfield Bullock grew up in Southern California. In the early 1920s he moved to New York to pursue a career as a tenor. In Paris for two years at the end of the decade, he continued his musical training but, inspired by light-filled impressionist paintings and Moholy-Nagy's images, he also began to photograph. While subsequently working in real estate in Clarksburg, West Virginia, he was particularly attracted to solarization, a process that produces eerie effects through reversal of positive and negative tones. In 1938 he began two years of study at the Art Center School (now Art Center College of Design) in Los Angeles, and in the mid-1940s he relocated to Monterey. There he developed his mature style by adapting Weston's exacting realism to his own romantic quest to reveal the workings of space and time through photography. In 1959 he was appointed head of the photography department at San Francisco State College (now University). Bullock's images convey his mystical feeling for light, which, he believed, vibrates like sound with physiological and psychological effect. When he photographed directly from nature, he framed and lighted selections to produce somewhat otherworldly effects. In more contrived work, he produced surrealistic dream worlds, still sharply detailed. Often, posed and sometimes nude figures inhabit ambiguous settings, such as overgrown natural recesses, which may harbor weather-beaten structures. Although most of his work is in black and white, between 1960 and 1963 Bullock worked almost exclusively in color, making nearly abstract close-ups. He died in Monterey.

Subjects: Art.


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