Julia Jackson by Julia Margaret Cameron, April 1867
Albumen silver print from glass negative (27.4 x 20.6 cm), via Metropolitan Museum of Art:
“The effusive, eccentric associate of Carlyle, Herschel, Ruskin, Rossetti, and Tennyson, Julia Margaret Cameron earned the admiration of her eminent colleagues when she took up the camera at age fifty. Characteristically Victorian in her intense idealism, Cameron sought to portray the noble emotions, mythological figures, and ancient heroes dear to her heart. She pressed her friends and family to pose in tableaux vivants that may seem sentimental today, but she also took portraits so vivid and psychologically rich that they are timeless. Cameron made more than twenty portraits of her favorite niece and namesake, Julia Jackson, to whom she gave this unmounted proof print. She never portrayed Julia as a sibyl or a saint but rather as a natural embodiment of purity, beauty and grace. Spared the usual props and costumes, the twenty-one-year-old sitter here seems bodiless, an ethereal spirit afloat like an untethered soul.
This poetic image depicts the woman who was the model for the beautiful Mrs. Ramsay in “To the Lighthouse”, Virginia Woolf‘s great novel of 1927. In 1882 Julia Jackson Stephen gave birth to Virginia, who grew up to resemble her mother and, in 1926, to write the first book on her great-aunt’s photographs.”
scanned from Colin Ford’s Julia Margaret Cameron: 19th Century Photographer of Genius (ISBN 1855145065). Originally from National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford.
Art Institute Chicago:
“Julia Margaret Cameron began photographing at age 48, when her daughter and son-in-law gave her a camera for her amusement. She soon made a name for herself with large-format, often allegorical compositions and portraits that defied the conventions of Victorian photography. A typical commercial portrait of the time presented a small standing figure, sharply focused and evenly lit.
By contrast, Cameron’s photograph of her niece Julia Jackson concentrates on the subject’s head, showing clearly only limited planes of her face and leaving half of it shrouded in shadow. Known as a great beauty, Jackson was a favorite subject for Cameron, who made dozens of photographs of her. In April 1867, a month before Jackson’s wedding to her first husband, Herbert Duckworth, Cameron photographed the young bride-to-be. With her hair down and eyes wide, she is unsentimental, looking forward with purpose to her own personal and social transformation.“
See also the very interesting article Impreciseness in Julia Margaret Cameron’s Portrait Photographs by Dr Mirjam Brusius on this link here. Below a fascinating extract of Dr Mirjam Brusius’s article regarding the above photos:
related articles across the web: