ETHERIAL IMAGERY: The Work of Julia Margaret Cameron

I believe in other than mere conventional topographic photography – map-making and skeleton rendering of feature and form without that roundness and fullness of force and feature, that modeling of flesh and limb, which the focus I use only can give, tho’ called and condemned as ‘out of focus/’ What is focus – and 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 Truth by all possible devotion to Poetry and Beauty.” – Julia Margaret Cameron

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) was a British photographer who become known for her portraits of celebrities during her time and for making images with legendary themes. Some of her subjects included Charles Darwin, John Everett Mills,  Ellen Terryand George Frederic Watts to name a few. What’s phenomenal is that she only took photographs for eleven years of her life, after being given a camera as a birthday present at the age of 48. Although her style was not widely appreciated in her day, her work has had an impact on modern photographs, especially her closely cropped portraits. The wife of a retired jurist, Mrs.Cameron moved in the highest circles of society in Victorian England. For Julia, photography was imagined an art form to master, to twist and change as she could. I find it fascinating that Julia focussed on two main aspects in the images she created,  women and allegorical lessons, making her photos epitomize romance and evoke a spirit of etherial beauty.

Days of Freshwater – 1868

The Rosebud garden of the Girls – 1868

The Gardener’s Daughter – 1867

Dimbola Lodge – 1875

Paul and Virgina, 1864

The shadow of the cross – 1865

She walks in beauty – September 1874

The Echo – 1868

The Annunciation – 1865

Pre-Raphaelite Study –  1870

Julia Jackson – 1863

A group of Children – 1864

A study of a holy family – 1872

Beatrice – 1866

Julia Margaret Cameron with her two children, Henry Herschel Hay and Charlie Hay by Unknown photographer – 1858

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