Wynn Bullock was one of the most significant photographers of the mid-twentieth century. A close friend of influential West Coast artists Ansel Adams and Edward Weston and a contemporary of Minor White and Frederick Sommer, Bullock created work marked by a distinct interest in experimentation, abstraction, and philosophical exploration. Bullock’s photography received early recognition in 1941, when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art staged his first solo exhibition. His mature work appeared in one-man shows at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; the Royal Photographic Society, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other prestigious venues. Bullock’s pictures Let There Be Light and Child in Forest have become icons in the history of photography, following their prominent inclusion in Edward Steichen’s landmark 1955 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, The Family of Man.
Wynn Bullock: Revelations offers the most comprehensive assessment of the photographer’s extraordinary career in nearly forty years. Produced by the High Museum of Art in partnership with the Center for Creative Photography to accompany a traveling exhibition, this retrospective traces Bullock’s evolution from his early experimental work of the 1940s, through the mysterious black-and-white imagery of the 1950s and the color light abstractions of the 1960s, to his late metaphysical photographs of the 1970s. The book presents 110 images, including some from the Bullock estate that have never been published before. An essay by the High’s Curator of Photography Brett Abbott explores the nuances of Bullock’s approach to photography and its fascinating relationship to the history of science and philosophy. The volume also includes an illustrated chronology, a bibliography, selected collections, an exhibitions history, a plates list, and notes.
Despite early acclaim, the true breadth and depth of Bullock’s career have remained largely in the shadows. Wynn Bullock: Revelations shines new light on this major photographer.
Foreword by Michael E. Shapiro and Katharine Martinez
Wynn Bullock: Revelations
Barbara Bullock-Wilson and Maria Kelly
Selected Exhibition History
A specialist in twentieth-century American photography, Abbott is Keough Family Curator of Photography and Head of Collections at the High Museum of Art. He previously worked at the J. Paul Getty Museum, where his exhibitions and companion publications Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties and Edward Weston: Enduring Vision both received the Lucie Award for Curator/Exhibition of the Year.
Wynn Bullock: Revelations exhibit
The High will become the first major art museum in nearly 40 years to mount a retrospective of work by photographer Wynn Bullock (1902-1975). Read more about the exhibit here.
"In every photograph of this country which Wynn Bullock has taken, there is present a note of gratitude for the privilege of being alive and seeing the world, not as a machine, not as a drudge, not as a professional, but as a dreamer divinely possessed."
"When I look at a Wynn Bullock photograph I am moved aesthetically and spiritually. I do not need interpretations, nor do I wish to compose any for others. The photographs stand clear in their own beauty. They belong to us and they are a precious heritage for the future."
―Ansel Adams, from Wynn Bullock Portfolio
"[Bullock’s images] are inexhaustible, they just go on and on, each viewing (and I have looked into some of them for upwards of an hour at a stretch, completely immersed, and that’s rare) leads me further and further into them. . . . There’s such an abundance of treasures I want to weep for joy."
―A. D. Coleman, Village Voice
“…as evinced by this volume and its companion exhibition at Atlanta’s High Museum, he was a master of both abstraction and realism, a purveyor of forms in the natural world and the human realm whose beautifully composed images beckon a larger audience… Here his Kodachrome originals have been wondrously revived digitally, nearly 40 years after his death.”
"This is a profoundly beautiful collection of work. Though nothing compares to seeing the print in front of you, this book is the next best thing and allows you to have this unprecedented collection in your home."
"As a book object, this retrospective is dense with photographs, the writing clear, informative and footnoted and accompanied by an illustrated chronology. The interior photographs are beautifully printed as originally conceived without the mild cropping of the early books illustrating his work, with the photographic plates having generous white margins, captions; including dates of the work accompany each photograph. Recommended."
―The Photo Book
"Time spent with the images and Brett Abbott’s essay brings insight and understanding. Anyone interested in the history of American photography must add this book to their library....The book is a beautifully produced volume, representing the breadth of Bullock’s fascination with light and showcasing his remarkable ability to teach himself fine photographic techniques."
―American Society of Picture Professionals