Artist
Julia Margaret Cameron
British photographer

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Julia Margaret Cameron
British photographer
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Birth Date

1815

Death Date

1879

ldare's picture

Sr. Editor

Though Julia Margaret Cameron’s contemporaries dismissed her work as “amateur,” she is now recognized as one of the most original and significant portraitists of our time.

Consider her the Annie Leibovitz of her day.

Cameron started her career fairly late in life (48) when her daughter and son-in-law thought she needed a hobby and gifted her a camera.

As a woman in the mid to late 1800’s models were hard to come by and thus resorted to her family and friends whom she lovingly called her “victims.”

Her family tree is full of stars:

  • Her maternal grandfather, Chevalier Antoine de l'Etang, was a page and possible lover of Marie Antoinette.
  • Her great-niece was Virginia Woolf.
  • Her niece was Lady Henry Somerset (née Lady Isabella Caroline) who was a champion of women’s rights and successfully separated from her husband for being gay and won custody of their son.

And her home was teeming with equally famous friends:

  • Astronomer Sir John Herschel
  • Author Charles Dodson aka Lewis Carroll
  • Scientist Charles Darwin
  • Artist John Everett Millais

Clearly, the Cameron house was the place to party.

Her home on the Isle of Wight, Dimbola Lodge, is open to the public. A life-size Jimi Hendrix statue was erected (for stupid reasons: he performed there once) outside her home infuriating locals.

Cameron was another victim to the patriarchy. Because she wasn't a man her craft was considered a hobby and not something to take seriously, only now do we acknowledge her accomplishments. Unfortunately, even in 2015 museums are struggling to have equal representation in their collections often displaying a majority of white, male artists. 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Julia Margaret Cameron

Julia Margaret Cameron (née Pattle; 11 June 1815 – 26 January 1879) was a British photographer known for her portraits of celebrities and for images with Arthurian and other legendary or heroic themes.

Cameron's photographic career was short, spanning eleven years of her life (1864–1875). She took up photography at the relatively late age of 48, when she was given a camera as a present.

Her style was not widely appreciated in her own day. Her choice to use soft focus and to treat photography as an art as well as a science caused her works to be viewed as "slovenly", marred by "mistakes". She found more acceptance among pre-Raphaelite artists than among photographers.

Her work, especially her closely cropped portraits, has influenced modern photographers.Dimbola Lodge, her house on the Isle of Wight, is open to the public.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Julia Margaret Cameron.