Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879)

Born Julia Margaret Pattle in Calcutta, India, Cameron took up photography in 1863 as a hobby. With no formal training in the medium, she developed her own style through experimentation intermingled with her own personal inclinations, and through trial and error. By 1864, she began exhibiting, and over a course of ten years, she produced over 900 works which began to be mass-produced and were in high demand. Exhibitions in Europe earned her a bronze medal in Berlin in 1865, and a gold medal in 1866. Her unique style is generally a combination of close-up and abstract with harsh lighting. She uses allegory in a number of her works; others are based on historical or mythological figures. Then there are the portraits of famous personages of the time, and her own family members. Yet others belong to another group: portraits of real women without the props and costumes, each with their own personality, and these are executed with sensitivity and delicacy. Cameron was criticised for not removing blemishes from her photographs, and her signature use of soft focus was put down to her inability to use the camera. She did, however, receive guidance from Sir John Herschel. Her style was influenced by the old masters such as Titan, Raphael and Rembrandt, as well as the Pre-Raphaelites.









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