|Dates: ||1854, 27 September - 1939, 14 December|
|Born: ||US, DE, Wilmington|
|Died: ||US, PA, West Chester|
Approved biography for John Bullock
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
John G. Bullock was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 27, 1854, into a prominent Quaker family of pharmacists. Dutifully, he acquired an orthodox Quaker education at Haverford College (Haverford, Pennsylvania) and, after additional schooling, began working at his family’s Philadelphia pharmacy in 1879.
Bullock became interested in photography in 1882, when he purchased a camera, joined the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, and studied with the veteran photographer John C. Browne. Bullock rose to prominence in the society within a few years, when he began serving as its vice president, and by 1891 he was president. Along with a few other leading members, he helped organize the three Philadelphia Photographic Salons of 1898-1900, which were the most artistic exhibitions of photographs at the time.
Bullock was essentially a naturalistic photographer, but his work was widely appreciated by the concurrent pictorialists. His imagery focused on the landscape and rural life of the environs of Philadelphia. As early as 1890 he won a bronze medal at an exhibition in Newcastle, England, and subsequently his work was accepted at salons in Chicago, Glasgow, Vienna, and Turin. F. Holland Day included Bullock’s work in his important group show The New School of American Photography, presented in London in 1901. The same year, the Camera Club of New York held an exhibition of his photographs along with those of fellow Philadelphians Robert S. Redfield and Edmund Stirling.
The next year, Bullock was designated a founding fellow of Alfred Stieglitz’s exclusive group of pictorialists, the Photo-Secession. Stieglitz included Bullock’s work in both the Secession’s inaugural exhibition of 1902 at the National Arts Club in New York and its last show, seen at the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo in 1910. Reproductions of his work appeared in photographic magazines primarily in the 1890s, among them American Amateur Photographer, Camera Notes, Photo Beacon, Photo Era, and Photographic Times.
Bullock’s artistic pursuits seemed to have slowed by the time he retired as a pharmacist in 1907. In 1915, he provided documentary photographs for a guidebook to historic Germantown, the suburb in which he lived. About ten years later, he moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he devoted his time to local history until his death there, on December 14, 1939.
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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