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Edna Bullock: Through a Dancer's Eye
Monterey Museum of Art
December 6, 2018 – March 10, 2019


Dance was the first great love in my life. Whenever I heard music, I felt and saw movement. As a child I studied ballet and tap. I performed in school functions and community events. In high school and college, I got into theatrical and modern dance. I wanted to be a professional dancer, but my family persuaded me to follow a more "practical" course and become a teacher. As a physical education teacher at Fresno High School in the early 1940s, I established a dance program and did as much with dance and movement as I possibly could. While I was there, I did the choreography for a major adaptation of Sleeping Beauty.

In the fall of 1942, I met Wynn Bullock who was stationed at a military base near Fresno. Three months later, we were married, and he and the family we raised together became the second great loves in my life. For many years, I was a full-time wife and mother. I cooked and gardened and sewed. I enjoyed doing lots of craft projects with my daughters and supporting Wynn and his career as a photographer in whatever ways I could.

When Wynn died of cancer in 1975, I was 60 years old. Although I definitely was not a spring chicken, neither was I ready for the stew pot! I felt I had a lot of good years ahead of me, and I needed to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. To everybody's surprise, I decided to try out photography for myself, and, lo and behold, it became my third great love.

I'm not a deep thinker like Wynn was, but like it was for Wynn, photography has become the best way I have to experience and know things. When I'm out with a camera, I feel most alive. When I photograph, something seems to happen to me and I see and understand things I'm not ordinarily aware of. Mind you, this doesn't happen every time I photograph, and even when it does, I'm sometimes not conscious that it has occurred until I see the image emerge in the darkroom. But the magic I'm talking about makes me want to photograph until I die.

~ Written February 1997 for what turned out to be Edna's last lifetime exhibition. She continued to photograph for several more months until a series of strokes stopped her image-making. She passed away at age 82 on December 13, 1997.

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