Haunting portraits from a 19th century master photographer

Iago, 1867, Julia Margaret Cameron (National Media Museum, Bradford)

The Science Museum, London, opened an exhibition in September 2015 marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879).

Cameron was a late bloomer to photography, beginning her career at age 48 in 1863 after receiving a camera as a gift from her eldest daughter. Cameron’s photographic technique was to purposefully utilize a lack of sharp focus and technical faults to evoke emotion and energy, despite harsh criticism from the press. Her most recognized works are her portraits of influential figures of the Victorian era, tableaux from poems, plays and character studies, using the wet collodion process. The majority of her career she worked at her house, Dimbola Lodge, on the Isle of Wight, before moving to Sri Lanka in 1875.

The exhibition is co-curated by Colin Harding, curator of photography and photographic technology at the National Media Museum, Bradford, and Tim Clark, associate curator, Media Space. The exhibit will be on display until March 28, 2016.

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