Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

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One of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography—indeed in any medium—Julia Margaret Cameron (British, 1815–1879) blended an unorthodox technique, a profoundly spiritual sensibility, and a Pre-Raphaelite–inflected aesthetic to create a gallery of vivid portraits and a mirror of the Victorian soul.

When she received her first camera in 1863 as a Christmas gift from her daughter and son-in-law, Cameron was forty-eight, a mother of six, and a deeply religious, well-read, somewhat eccentric friend of many notable Victorian artists, poets, and thinkers. “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” she wrote, “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.” Condemned by some contemporaries for sloppy craftsmanship, she purposely avoided the perfect resolution and minute detail that glass negatives permitted, opting instead for carefully directed light, soft focus, and long exposures that allowed her sitters’ slight movement to register in her pictures, instilling them with a sense of breath and life.

An exhibition of her portraits will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from August 19, 2013 through January 5, 2014.

 

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