Julia Margaret Cameron

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Cameron, Julia Margaret

(kăm`ərən), 1815–79, English pioneer photographer, b. Calcutta (now Kolkata). Born and married into the high ranks of the British civil service, Cameron became an intimate of many of the most famous people of her day. In 1863 she received the gift of a camera from one of her daughters and quickly became an ardent amateur photographer, upgrading her camera only three years later and using the difficult wet collodion process. Cameron demanded long, arduous sittings from her large circle of illustrious friends. She sought to illuminate the inner person of her subject, and her celebrated portraits, including those of Tennyson, Carlyle, Ellen Terry, Browning, Darwin, Trollope, and Longfellow, are remarkably spontaneous. She also pioneered the use of closeups, soft focus, and the darkroom manipulation of negatives and was a key figure in establishing the photographic portrait as a legitimate work of art. Some of her works were published as Victorian Photographs of Famous Men and Fair Women (rev. ed. 1973).


See C. Ford and J. Cox, Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs (2003); biographies by B. Hill (1973), H. Gernsheim (1975), C. Ford (2003), and V. C. Olsen (2003).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cameron, Julia Margaret


Born June 11, 1815, in India; died Jan. 26, 1879, in Ceylon. English portrait photographer.

Cameron took up photography in 1863. As an amateur, she lacked the technical perfection of many professional photographers. However, she surpassed them in her depth of understanding of a subject’s individuality. She was particularly successful in revealing strong, intense characters. Her subjects, most of whom were friends of her family, included C. Darwin, T. Carlyle, J. F. W. Herschel, H. W. Longfellow, R. Browning, and A. Tennyson. Cameron’s photographs were characterized by soft focus, gentle facial modeling, and a sparse setting. Most of her negatives were destroyed in a fire.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Julia Margaret Cameron was interested in expression over proficiency, earning critical remarks about her lack of technical skill.
Wynfield's photographs quickly gathered admirers, including Julia Margaret Cameron who consulted him 'whenever I am in difficulty' and declared in January 1866: 'To my feelings about his beautiful photography I owed all my attempts and indeed consequently all my success.' Almost two years earlier, Wynfield had published a volume called The Studio: A Collection of Photographic Portraits of Living Artists, taken in the style of the Old Masters, by an Amateur.
A generous and handsomely presented array of photographs is the primary attraction of art historian Boris Friedenwald's coffee table book, Women Photographers: From Julia Margaret Cameron to Cindy Sherman.
La realizacion de sus imagenes era descuidada porque para Julia Margaret Cameron lo importante era el resultado final.
They include Julia Margaret Cameron, great aunt to author Virginia Woolf, and Lady Hawarden, whose position in society meant she did not have to use her creative eye to earn an independent wage.
Julia Margaret Cameron (British, 1815-1879), Philip Stanhope Worsley (1835-1866), 1864-66.
She was an artist in her own right and also sat for Rossetti and Whistler, and was photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron. Burne-Jones was praised for capturing her beauty as Danaae in a work called The Tower of Brass, and the pencil sketch of a female head in this sale bears a remarkable similarity to this work.
Dr Brian Hinton, curator at the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, said: "Perhaps some aboriginal tribes are correct in thinking, in a world increasingly subject to media distortion, that each time one's portrait is taken, a little piece of one's soul disappears.
Yet one of the notable features of this fine book is the range of Victorians who appear: from Mrs Beeton, Henry Bessemer and Julia Margaret Cameron to J.M.W.
The servants in the garden of photographer Mrs Julia Margaret Cameron are running round the garden painting red roses white.
Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron won the praise of the British artistic and intellectual elite through her classic, nineteenth-century iconographic images of the great and the good.