PDN Photo of the Day

Julia Margaret Cameron: A Beautiful Vision

Julia Margaret Cameron: A Beautiful Vision

© Julia Margaret Cameron/Courtesy Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs

A rare exhibition of more than 20 albumen prints made from 1864 to 1874 by 19th century British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, New York, through December 2. Most of the photographs were gifts from the artist to her niece, Adeline Maria Jackson; they have remained in the family ever since and have never been exhibited.

Cameron famously began her career in photography at the age of 48 when she received a camera as a gift from her daughter. Moving in the highest circles of Victorian society, Cameron counted artists, writers and scientists among her close friends. Her famous portrait subjects included the astronomer Sir John Herschel, the naturalist Charles Darwin, the Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle and the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She created the majority of her work at her home in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. Among the highlights of the exhibition is a carbon print of “A Beautiful Vision, Julia Duckworth, 1872”.  Duckworth, Cameron’s niece and goddaughter, was a frequent sitter and provided inspiration for her aunt’s photographs. She later became the mother of Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.

Writing about Cameron in his essay for the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, photo historian Larry J. Schaaf observes, “Her photographs have always been show-stoppers in any exhibition. Big, bold, and penetrating, they are at the same time incredibly natural, indeed, comfortable to behold.”

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