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Julia Margaret Cameron

Cameron, Julia Margaret (kămˈərən) [key], 1815–79, English pioneer photographer, b. Calcutta (now Kolkata). Born and married into the high ranks of the British civil service, Cameron became an intimate of many of the most famous people of her day. In 1863 she received the gift of a camera from one of her daughters and quickly became an ardent amateur photographer, upgrading her camera only three years later and using the difficult wet collodion process. Cameron demanded long, arduous sittings from her large circle of illustrious friends. She sought to illuminate the inner person of her subject, and her celebrated portraits, including those of Tennyson, Carlyle, Ellen Terry, Browning, Darwin, Trollope, and Longfellow, are remarkably spontaneous. She also pioneered the use of closeups, soft focus, and the darkroom manipulation of negatives and was a key figure in establishing the photographic portrait as a legitimate work of art. Some of her works were published as Victorian Photographs of Famous Men and Fair Women (rev. ed. 1973).

See C. Ford and J. Cox, Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs (2003); biographies by B. Hill (1973), H. Gernsheim (1975), C. Ford (2003), and V. C. Olsen (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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