11 Pioneering Women Photographers, from Julia Margaret Cameron to Helen Levitt
In the collection of Photography at LACMA.
The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation and Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin (M.2008.40.385)
One of the early pioneers of photographic portraiture, Julia Margaret Cameron began her career at the age of 48. “From the first moment, I handled my lens with a tender ardor," she wrote, "and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigor." Cameron trained herself to master the laborious steps of producing negatives with wet collodion on glass plates, favoring slight blurs in her images and looser compositions than the polished portraits of her colleagues. She moved in the high intellectual circles of Victorian England, capturing leading academics and artists such as Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin. Many critics praised her originality, though others derided her for slovenly technique. Drawing inspiration from historical and contemporary writers and painters, Cameron also staged scenes from history or literature, such as her photographic illustrations of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, and regularly enlisted family members, friends, and domestic servants as models for Madonnas, Christ figures, and angels
British, 1815-1879, Kolkata, India, based in London, United Kingdom