Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

One of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography—indeed in any medium—Julia Margaret Cameron (British, 1815–1879) blended an unorthodox technique, a profoundly spiritual sensibility, and a Pre-Raphaelite–inflected aesthetic to create a gallery of vivid portraits and a mirror of the Victorian soul.

When she received her first camera in 1863 as a Christmas gift from her daughter and son-in-law, Cameron was forty-eight, a mother of six, and a deeply religious, well-read, somewhat eccentric friend of many notable Victorian artists, poets, and thinkers. “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” she wrote, “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.” Condemned by some contemporaries for sloppy craftsmanship, she purposely avoided the perfect resolution and minute detail that glass negatives permitted, opting instead for carefully directed light, soft focus, and long exposures that allowed her sitters’ slight movement to register in her pictures, instilling them with a sense of breath and life.

An exhibition of her portraits will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from August 19, 2013 through January 5, 2014.


 

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Pomona - September 1872 Albumen silver print from glass negative. David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1963 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (63.545). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Sappho - 1865 Albumen silver print from glass negative. The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Jennifer and Joseph Duke and Anonymous Gifts, 1997 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1997.382.39). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Philip Stanhope Worsley - 1866 Albumen silver print from glass negative. Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2005.100.27). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

A Study - 1865-66 Albumen silver print from glass negative. Bequest of James David Nelson, in memory of Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr., 1990 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1990.1074.3). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Kate Keown - 1866 Albumen silver print from glass negative. Gilman Collection, Purchase, Jennifer and Joseph Duke Gift, 2005 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2005.100.265). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Zoe, Maid of Athens - 1866 Albumen silver print from glass negative. The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, and Muriel Kallis Newman Gifts, 1997 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1997.382.38). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Philip Stanhope Worsley - 1866 Albumen silver print from glass negative. Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2005.100.27). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

King Lear Alotting His Kingdom to His Three Daughters - 1872 Albumen silver print from glass negative. Bequest of Maurice B. Sendak, 2013 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2013.159.3). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Sir John Herschel - April 1867 Albumen silver print from glass negative. The Rubel Collection, Promised Gift of William Rubel The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.1997.84.6). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Mrs. Herbert Duckworth - 1867 Albumen silver print from glass negative. Gilman Collection, Purchase, Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2005 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2005.100.26). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron(English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Alfred, Lord Tennyson - July 4, 1866 Albumen silver print from glass negative. The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Michael and Jane Wilson, and Harry Kahn Gifts, 1997 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1997.382.36). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

The Parting of Lancelot and Guinevere - 1874 Albumen silver print from glass negative. David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1952 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (52.524.3). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).

Julia Margaret Cameron exhibit opens NYC's Met Museum

Christabel - 1866 Albumen silver print from glass negative. Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1941 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (41.21.26). Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron (English, 1815-1879).