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  1. #1

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    Discuss a Wynn Bullock image...

    I read most of these discussions avidly and have been waiting for someone to post Wynn Bullock's "Navigation Without Numbers" - plucked up the courage to do it myself. There are few images that move me to the extent that this does. Might say something of my personal or work background - might just be that that it connects at a level I am not able to articulate or appreciate the emotions it brings to the fore - for me at least! The tension, grief, desperation and resignation of the female - the gesture of the hand - the infant - innocent! I'd just love to see a real print of this image, I'd probably weep - inwardly at least!

    http://www.artnet.com/magazine/revie...sidy1-22-2.jpg

  2. #2
    wfe
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    I am a Wynn Bullock fan and this is certainly a very interesting photograph. Perhaps parental stress contrasted by the relaxed infant who is of course totally dependent on the parent.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    ~Bill
    "Real Art is a Thin Breath Exhaled Amidst a Struggle in the Mind"
    Fine Art and Portraits

  3. #3
    blansky's Avatar
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    My first reaction is that it seems contrived. Upon futher examination I guess it's a "stylized examination" of motherhood perhaps.

    I'm still digesting it.

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

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    Contrived...

    Please no - this would shatter the image for me. I have read that he "used" many models and have seen many images that were obviously constructed - this just appeals on a higher level for me and to know that it was completely false would be a blow somehow!

    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    My first reaction is that it seems contrived. Upon futher examination I guess it's a "stylized examination" of motherhood perhaps.

    I'm still digesting it.

    Michael

  5. #5
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    For all I know Bullock spet all his time on this getting the texture of the little hutch in the background Just Right.

    I don't recall seeing this one before (though I do have a book of Bullock somewhere...). Given the space given to the wall, the blackness of the cover, the spill of light, I get the impression that this could be a metaphoric portrayal of life projecting itself out of blackness towards light through a random and somewhat indifferent existence. But that reading comes only becasue of the title, and obviously YMMV

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  6. #6

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    I am a great fan of Bullock and have thought about posting an image. I put it off hoping someone else would have a take on his work. Thanks Carl for posting.

    This image is one that can carry on a dialogue with the viewer that can evolve over the years. Being marrried with two daughters, this image has come to represent the bond between child and mother that while always present becomes more and more tenuous with time.

    We usually think in terms of a child being dependent on the mother, but the relationship also goes the other way. A mother is dependent on the child to make her complete, and yet from the day of birth the destiny of the child is to be seperate from the mother.

    The title, Navigation Without Numbers makes me think of the child while dependent on the mother for near term survival and nurturing already has all the data needed to chart its own course.

    Now the great thing about such images is that if someone revisits this image a year form now I might have a new idea or insight that is totally different. But whatever I think, I will always consider it a classic image of the last century.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  7. #7
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    I like Wynn Bullock in general. Like blansky, I feel as though many of his images including humans are highly contrived. BUT, that doesn't detract from them, at least not to me. When I say they look contrived, I mean they obviously aren't found images. The photographer took models to this setting and arranged a photo. What I like about this is it means the photographer had something in mind, but at the same time we don't know what it is. It is a wonderful starting point, makes you wonder what it meant to him. This wondering, in turn, probably makes the viewer ready to explore the potential meanings of the image in many avenues, most of which were probably not anything the Bullock thought of...or maybe he did.

  8. #8
    Troy Hamon's Avatar
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    Just a brief additional note...

    Many photographers make contrived images. What determines whether I find them interesting is whether they are trite. I don't find Bullock's images trite, rather I find them quite complex and mysterious. They offer questions, not answers. Which is why I like them, every time I look they make me think.

  9. #9

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    One of my favorites by one of my favorite artists. In the notes to this photo in the Wynne Bullock book in the Phaidon 55 series it states that he did not fabricate this scene. The following is the rest of the note to this picture.

    "The woman was a waif who had been given shelter by the caretaker of a remote ranch in Big Sur. It was a favorite site for Bullock and he had become friends with her, occasionally giving her work as a model. Earlier in the day , Bullock had been shaken by a strong premonition that she would eventually be forced to give up her son. When she put him on the bed for a nap and then moved to the edge of the it, the premonition seemed to come to life before his eyes. It should also be noted that the book on the window sill that gives the photograph its title is a classic text on how to make one's way across dark waters."
    Paul Hamann

  10. #10

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    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.

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