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Julia Margaret Cameron - Arresting Beauty


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Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) has long been recognized as one of the most innovative and influential photographers of all time. She pioneered the use of close-up, made the portrait her subject, sought inspiration in the arts as varied as Italian Renaissance painting and contemporary Victorian poetry, and cherished beauty above technical perfection. 


Cameron received her first camera from her daughter and son-in-law in 1863, aged 48, and her response to the gift was immediate: "from the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour, and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour". Over the eleven years that followed Cameron produced thousands of photographs, exhibited internationally and published two books. Photography became Cameron’s link to some of the greatest writers, artists, scientists and thinkers of her day, from the poets Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Henry W. Longfellow and the painter G.F. Watts to the naturalist Charles Darwin, the astronomer John F. Herschel and the historian and philosopher Thomas Carlyle. Her subjects also included several studies of Alice Liddell, who, as a child, had sat for photographer and writer Lewis Carroll and inspired Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; and a remarkably tender and modern-looking portrait of Ellen Terry, one of the most popular child actresses of her day. 


The Victoria and Albert Museum (as the South Kensington Museum) was, as early as 1865, the first museum in the world to exhibit Cameron’s work, less than two years after she started to take photographs. Today the V&A houses the world’s largest collection of photographs by Cameron. 


Marking the 160th anniversary of Cameron’s receipt of a camera and featuring more than 120 examples of her work, Arresting Beauty demonstrates that the confidence and power of Cameron’s photographs today remain undiminished.


Marta Weiss, Lisa Springer




23.9cm x 18.7cm



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