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ART for the Imagination


Wynn Bullock

Science substantiates the fact that matter is made up of different particles, or quantums, of light. Everything that we perceive is a manifestation of some kind of light or radiant energy. When I began to examine this truth in terms of my perception by means of light, I realized that an object is seen only by the light it reflects, transmits or refracts. Such light is not the light of the object, but rather the light the object rejects, which we call “positive” in photography. The light that is the object we call “negative”.

Now, how do you symbolize this other reality when working with light and photography? When you begin, you do not forget the disciplines that you have known before. The spatial relationships are just as important in the negative print as they are in the positive. The event is just as important, but you are now dealing with a new and more mysterious event. You are trying to find symbols to evoke a sense of the fact that a thing, its substance, is really of the light, or energy, that you do not see. The negative image takes away the familiar character of surface reality and makes you begin to think more of inner reality. You are anchored then in the more mysterious reality of what actually IS the thing; so why not admit it and symbolize it in the way.

I feel that I’m getting nearer to some of the things that I never understood about myself and the world about me. Many of those things relate symbolically to some of the deepest things in life: birth, death, order – the universals. These are Everyman’s – not just the way in which I see them personally, but perceivable by all of us.




Wynn Bullock photographs are in the permanent collections of over 90 museums, educational

institutions, and art centers. Ones that hold ten or more prints are in bold.

Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Bank of America LaSalle Photography Collection, Charlotte, North Carolina

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France

Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (Wynn was one of five founding artists whose archives established CCP in 1975.)

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia

College of Art, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA

de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI

Family of Man Museum, Château de Clervaux, Clervaux, Luxembourg

Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa

Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Fondazione Fotografia, Modena, Italy

George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY (formerly George Eastman House)

Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

Indiana University Art Museum, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

  1. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI

Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Yamanashi, Japan

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI

McHenry Library Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Mills College, Oakland, CA

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN

Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC

Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL

Museum of Kyushu Sangyo University, Fukuoka City, Japan

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM

Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO

New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA

Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Photo Gallery International/Sata Corporation, Tokyo, Japan

Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon

Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ

Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

Smith College, Northampton, MA

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Syracuse University Art Galleries, Syracuse, NY

Tokyo College of Photography, Yokohama City, Japan

Tokyo Fuji Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan

UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California, Riverside, CA

University of California, Los Angeles, CA

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

University of Texas, Austin, TX

University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, Yamaguchi, Japan

Conversation with Wynn Bullock