Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Capturing Light

Born in 1815, Julia Margaret Cameron had a fairly short artistic career (a total of 11 years) during which she undoubtedly succeeded in producing striking photographic portraits of celebrities or her time and of members of her household. Birth or adoptive mother of at least 11 children, her motherly sensibility shows in her work which includes more than 200 photographs of children. Inspired by themes and stories dear to Pre-raphaelites, she often presented her subjects in contexts referencing directly to literature.

Looking at her portraits is a reminder that photography is a matter of a capture of light, just as fleeting as is our appearance, our identity, our lives. In this citation, found here, she beautifully expresses her photographic ambitions :

"What is focus - & who has a right to say what focus is the legitimate focus - My Aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the real and Ideal and sacrificing nothing of the Truth by all possible devotion to Poetry and beauty."
— Letter from Julia Margaret Cameron to John Herschel, December 31th 1864

Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Julia Jackson', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1867
(A little note about this first portrait: it is the one Cameron's niece, who later became mother of the famous writer Virginia Woolf...)
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Mary Hillier, Elizabeth and Kate Kuhn', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1864.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Temperance', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1864
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Florence Fisher', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1872
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'The Angel at the Sepulchre', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1866
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Floss and Iolande', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1864
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Maud', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1875.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Pomona', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1872.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Sir John Herschel', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1867.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'The Kiss of Peace', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1869.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'The Whisper of the Muse', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1865.

For a description of several photographs, I invite you to visit V&A

No comments:

Post a Comment