Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron took her first photograph in 1863, at the age of 48 when the medium was nascent. She said of the experience, “From the first moment, I handled my lens with a tender ardour, and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.” Although her photographs were not respected by the high art world, they are retrospectively deeply thoughtful, innovative, and advanced. Cameron used her family members and acquaintances as models and transformed their identities into mythological and biblical characters, as a painter would their model. Cameron is considered a master of capturing connotations like innocence, wisdom, piety in her subjects as they played roles of intangible figures. The luminous nature of her images and soft edges of her figures harken back to High Renaissance painters’ sfumato. Her works even recall contemporary female photographers like Cindy Sherman and Eleanor Antin who also impart alternative identities onto the same model—Sherman and Antin used themselves as the model while Cameron experimented with photographic methods that paved the way for these female artists.
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