The test of the search

The test of the search
Wynn Bullock, Color Light Abstraction 1071, 1960, Collection of de Saisset Museum, Gift of Wynn Bullock, 6.26 © Bullock Family Photography LLC.
by Lindsey Kouvaris '02 and Clay Hamilton |
For photographer Wynn Bullock, the journey was all about the search. And a new exhibit at the de Saisset museum explores his travels.

“Even though I know I can only travel a short distance, every step in that direction is a transcendental experience,” said photographer Wynn Bullock. He loved the unique realism photography imparts to the way we see the world—and he spent a lifetime experimenting photographically on his own creative journey.

A new exhibit at SCU’s de Saisset museum explores not only Bullock’s well known images of landscapes and figures, but also his lesser known abstractions of light. Together, the photographs illustrate the artist’s ongoing journey to self-discovery and his search for a means of communicating nature’s mysteries through the printed image. “Searching is everything—going beyond what you know,” he said. “The test of the search is really the things themselves, the things you seek to understand. What is important is not what you think about them, but how they enlarge you.”

Bullock’s career had long been marked by an aptitude for experimentation and a quest for deeper understanding. He began his artistic journey as a singer—a Broadway performer and a lover of classical music—but developed an affinity for photography in his mid-twenties and ultimately chose the captured image as his primary means of creative expression. Though he was active alongside well-known California photographers Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Edward Weston, Bullock’s interest in developing and working with new photographic techniques set him apart from the “straight” photography of his peers.

In the 1940s, he investigated solarization, eventually earning a patent for his distinctive process. In the 1960s, he began to work with color and light, experimenting with the elements to see how they would react and interact with one another. And toward the end of his career, in the 1970s, Bullock used techniques like negative reversals and flipped images to enhance his photographs. Yet, despite his predilection for experimentation, his fascination with light remained constant. It is as evident in the subtle tonalities of his black-and-white images as it is in the vibrancy of his color light abstractions.

“The camera is not only an extension of the eye, but of the brain. It can see sharper, farther, nearer, slower, faster than the eye. It can see by invisible light. It can see the past, present, and future. Instead of using the camera only to reproduce objects, I want to use it to make what is invisible to the eye, visible.”

Seeking Answers: Photographs by Wynn Bullock runs through June 30, 2013 at SCU’s de Saisset museum. For more information, including current and future exhibits, visit their website.
 

Selected Photos

Post a Comment

Winter 2014

Table of contents

Features

Rise up, my love

There are the sanctuaries built for worship—and that carry beauty and grace for all to see. Then there are the improvised places of faith, perhaps more subtle in how they speak to the wonder worked there.

The chaplain is in the House

With the way things have gone recently in Congress, looking to the heavens for some help and guidance might seem like a very good idea. In fact, that’s what Pat Conroy, S.J., M.Div. ’83 is there to do.

Welcome to Citizenville

Who published the one book on government in 2013 that conservative firebrand Newt Gingrich told all true believers that they should read? Well, the author is now lieutenant governor of California. Before that, he was mayor of San Francisco. That’s right: It’s Gavin Newsom ’89.

Mission Matters

Goooaal!

Women’s soccer wins the West Coast Conference championship.

Patent trolls, beware

The White House has brought on SCU’s Colleen Chien, a leading expert in patent law, as senior advisor.

A sight of innocence

George Souliotes went to prison for three life sentences after he was convicted of arson and murder. Twenty years later, he’s out—after the Northern California Innocence Project proved he didn’t do it.