Julia Margaret Cameron, 1815 –1879, was a famous British photographer. When she was 48 years old, Cameron received her first camera as a present from her daughter, and started her career as a photographer at a time when photography was new and challenging. The bulk of Cameron’s photographs fit into two categories, closely framed portraits or else illustrative allegories based on religious and literary works. In the allegorical works, she posed her subjects in period costumes with fantasy props. The lighting is soft and feathery, with subjects portraying characters like angels and poets.
Her neighbor Alfred Lord Tennyson often brought friends to see the photographer. Some of her famous subjects include: Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, John Everett Millais, William Michael Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Ellen Terry and George Frederic Watts. Her unconventional portrait style, which included close cropping, soft focus and emphasis on capturing the personality, is still imitated today. Many of Cameron’s portraits are significant because they are often the only existing photographs of historical figures.
Shrewdly, Julia Cameron copyrighted each of her photographs, so that much of her work survives today. She wrote, “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied.”
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