Hilton Kramer, former art critic of the New York Times, once described British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) as "one of the finest portraitists of the nineteenth centuryin any medium." Raised in a well-connected and creative family, Cameron led an unconventional life for a woman of the Victorian age. After devoting herself to an artistic and literary salon at her home on the Isle of Wight and raising eleven children, Cameron took up the fairly new art form of photography in her late forties. Over the next fourteen years, she produced more than a thousand images, including romantic pictures of young women and strikingly originalif often controversialliterary illustrations. Her searching portraits of her friends and acquaintances, including such eminent personalities as Alfred Tennyson and Charles Darwin, have been called the world's first close-ups.
This biography of Cameron draws on scholarly insights resulting from a thorough documentation of Cameron's surviving prints. It casts new light on the artist's links with the leading cultural figures of her time and on the techniques she used to achieve her distinctive style.
This book is published to coincide with a traveling exhibition of Cameron's photographs that will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford, England, in spring 2003; it will open at the Getty Museum in October 2003.
Colin Ford is founding head of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, England, and former director of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.
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