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  1. #11

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    As another has said this isn't a found image. It's not photojournalism. However it hasn't been done for sheer gratuitous effect. Some viewers will be able to read more into it than others but there are certainly recognisable messages. The mother is in total despair. Her nakedness may indicate utter poverty and/or inability to carry on. She's in such despair/ depression that she cannot be bothered to dress. The child is naked for a different reason. Here it represents innocence and the sleeping means that it has no worries as children don't even in desperate circumstances. This makes the scene very poignant. You worry for both, especially for the child because its safety and well being depends on a mother who may no longer be able to provide it.

    They seem all alone. You assume that they have no support but the fact that it is contrived gives you some comfort. It isn't real. It's an allegory.

    Bert Hardy took a number of shots in Glasgow just after WWII of working class life .One shot is of a woman and her daughter in waht is a rundown one room flat. The daughter is probably in her early teens. The room is bare.They have nothing. The father is sleeping off a drunken night, doesn't work and spends what little money they have on drink. The state of the room is terrible. The mother looks beaten by life. The daughter's look says that it may have just dawned on her that her life is going to be exactly the same as her mother's.

    The photo by Wynn Bullock tends to have more immediate impact than the Bert Hardy shot but I find the Hardy one much more depressing.

    This shot allows a civilised intellectual dinner party/ gallery discussion. The Bert Hardy one doesn't. It shouts at you and silences you. There is little to be said.

    pentaxuser

  2. #12
    blansky's Avatar
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    My comments on "contrived" don't necessarily have to do with "set up" but more with overly dramatic posing like the mother.

    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  3. #13

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    I have this print and like it very much. The image itself is intriguing and lends itself to many interpretations. The tones are excellent. My favorite image by Bullock, which I also own, is "Nude at Sandy's Window." Check it out, if you can.

  4. #14

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    Although....

    I can't really see the direct comparison except in the dependence/need element why do you say its not a fair comparison?

    Quote Originally Posted by Poco View Post
    The image made me think of Tomoko in Her Bath. Smith's photo affects me while Bullock's just makes me cringe. But maybe it's not a fair comparison.

  5. #15

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    Is this saying that Wynn's...

    images reflected his intellect and were made to make people think where as Bert's were instant impact atypical Picture Post images - made for a different audience?

    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
    A

    The photo by Wynn Bullock tends to have more immediate impact than the Bert Hardy shot but I find the Hardy one much more depressing.

    This shot allows a civilised intellectual dinner party/ gallery discussion. The Bert Hardy one doesn't. It shouts at you and silences you. There is little to be said.

    pentaxuser

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlRadford View Post
    I can't really see the direct comparison except in the dependence/need element
    Both are studies of mother/child. Both, it seems, deal with the love and anguish of the one for the other. When I look at Tomoko, the disfigurement registers, but only to provide context for the mother's loving glance. It's her face that can bring me to tears -- a mother's unquestioning, unwavering love for her child. For me, personally, Smith achieves in that face what Bullock can't do with an entire figure, melodramatically positioned (sorry, I don't believe it wasn't a "directed" moment).

    Anyway, that's why I said the comparison may not be fair: one is reportage and therefore has the extra sting of reality, while the other sure as heck has the feel of being staged.

  7. #17
    Struan Gray's Avatar
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    I have tried to like Wynn Bullock, but can't. He's just too sentimental and mawkish for my taste: I am left feeling that either he is insincere, or far too easily satisfied.
    Last edited by Struan Gray; 11-24-2006 at 04:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #18

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    Bullock is probably my favorite photographer, and this is one of my least favorite photographs of his. I don't understand his nudes. They are a pleasure to look at, but I don't get why he made them. I much prefer where he used light as his subject (Tail Lights, Worn Floor, The Shore (with Sun), Tide Pool 1957, Erosion 1956) and not an idea. Maybe I'm a lazy viewer.

  9. #19

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    I really appreciate the time and insight that people have given here - helps to expand my mind and hopefully my seeing!

  10. #20

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    When I look through a lot of Bullock's work it always reminds me of Minor White and some work of Paul Caponigro. There is often a mystical, multi-layering to his images.

    Bullock was not just interested in the literal represnetation of things even though he was considered part of the "California School" of photo realism. He used the LF camera and techniques of an Adams or Weston but sought a deeper meaning. In a compilation I have of Mid 20th century photographers the author talks of Bullock writing about the "need to find new symbols...that expand our minds so that we may be more home in this scientific and terrifying age."
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

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