Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879)
Best known for her powerful portraits, Julia Margaret Cameron was one of the most important and innovative photographers of the 19th century. Cameron broke all the photography “rules,” intentionally taking shots out of focus, often including scratches, smudges and other traces of her creative process. “Instead, she enlisted friends, family, and household staff in her activities,” notes The Met “aiming to capture the qualities of innocence, virtue, wisdom, piety, or passion that made them modern embodiments of classical, religious, and literary figures.” Cameron had no desire to establish a commercial studio or do commissioned portraits. Cameron’s unconventional techniques were both criticized by some and celebrated by others. The beauty of her strong and unique compositions lead many to accept photography as a form of fine art. Cameron’s portraits serve as a window into the Victoria soul.