After receiving a camera as a gift, Julia Margaret Cameron began her career in photography at the age of forty-eight. She produced the majority of her work from her home at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. By the coercive force of her eccentric personality, she enlisted everyone around her as models, from family members to domestic servants and local residents. The wife of a retired jurist, Cameron moved in the highest circles of society in Victorian England. She photographed the intellectuals and leaders within her circle of family and friends, among them the portrait painter George Frederick Watts, the astronomer Sir John Herschel, and the Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson. She derived much of her subject inspiration from literature, and her work in turn influenced writers. In addition to literature, she drew her subject matter from the paintings of Raphael, Giotto, and Michelangelo, whose works she knew through prints that circulated widely in late nineteenth-century England. Summing up her influences, Cameron stated her photographic mission thus: "My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the real and Ideal and sacrificing nothing of the Truth by all possible devotion to Poetry and beauty.“George Frederick Watts was a renowned portrait painter as well as a friend and mentor to the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Cameron photographed Watts frequently and in different guises. Here she cast him in the role of musician with hismuse or guiding spirit looking intently over his left shoulder, as though she is "whispering" some artistic encouragement in his ear. He, in turn, looks down upon the figure of the child on his right, who appears to be entranced by his violin playing. The violin is the visual focus of the composition and establishes a connection between the visual and performing arts. The concept of "muse" derives from Greek mythology and indicates the influence of classical sources in Cameron's work. On the mount board under this image, her inscription, "a Triumph!," demonstrates the degree to which she felt this photograph captured the relationship of artist and muse
Paul and VirginiaIn this early photograph Cameron evokes the narrative of Jacques Henri Bernardin de Saint Pierre's tragic romance Paul et Virginie (1787). The story, which was popular at the time, tells of the ill fated love of two children (here played by Freddy Gould and Elizabeth Keown) living on Mauritius, an island off the coast of Africa. Their idyllic existence is shattered by separation when Virginia is sent away to be educated. Attempting to return to the island, her boat is ship-wrecked within sight of land and Paul witnesses her drown rather than remove her clothes, which were too heavy for her to swim to safety. Not long afterwards Paul dies of grief.In her biography From Life, Julia Margaret Cameron and Victorian Photography, Victoria Olsen suggests that the image relates to the passage in which the two are caught in a storm:'both were laughing heartily at being sheltered together under an umbrella of their own invention. Those two charming faces, placed within the petticoat, swelled by the wind, recalled to my mind the children of Leda, enclosed within the same shell'.The subject of this photograph derives from the French romantic novel Paul et Virginieof 1787, which was translated and widely read in Victorian England. The models are Freddie Gould and Elizabeth Keown, local children from the Isle of Wight, where Julia Margaret Cameron photographed. The novel centers around a shipwreck, during which the heroine must shed her clothes to be rescued; she refuses to sacrifice her modesty and drowns. Cameron does not attempt to illustrate an actual scene from the text; instead, she suggests the novel's tropical setting through a bamboo-handled parasol, scattered greenery underfoot, and the models' appropriately disheveled drapery. Cameron often took well-known works of literature or painting as inspiration for individual images and then interpreted them loosely to communicate a universal underlying theme.RosebudAs evolutionary science and increasing secularism transformed the way Victorians understood the world, Cameron remained a devout Christian. She photographed influential public figures of her day as well as the women of her household, casting them in allegories of literary and religious subjects. Like her artistic contemporaries, the Pre-Raphaelite painters, who modeled their work on medieval religious and mythological art, Cameron intended her photographs to evince a connection between the spiritual and the natural realms.
A pioneer of color photography, Eggleston has been exploring and confronting the banalities of American culture since the 1960s. Many of his pictures are taken in familiar environments, especially in Mississippi, where he was born and raised.Assuming neutrality, his photographs of the ordinary enable him to produce images that differ from our expectations. This portrait of three children standing on the road at nightfall in Halloween costumes combines exaggerated perspective with the controlled, saturated coloration of the dye-transfer process
The Documentary Portrait responds to a more conventional idea of the camera as a device to record the world. An example of the early application of photography to sciences such as anthropology or psychiatry can be found in a portrait by Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond (British, 1809–1886), while a "mug shot" album demonstrates how the photographic portrait became a useful tool of the modern states in identifying and tracking criminals. This section also illustrates how the medium successfully addresses social issues. Visitors will see the photographic work of Lewis Hine (American, 1874–1940), whose images resulted in protective legislation for children in the United States; Walker Evans (American, 1903–1975), who made iconic portraits during the Great Depression; and Diane Arbus (American, 1923–1971), a member of this new generation of photographers who directed the documentary approach toward more personal ends in the 1960s.
Robert Weingarten's photographs of Amish communities are riveting testaments to the enduring virtues of this religious group's spiritual and bucolic lifestyle. His black-and-white images of the pastoral landscape are in perfect accord with the Amish's profoundly simple faith. In the broad spectrum of photographic grays that exists between the darkest black and the brightest white, this California photographer has eloquently evoked the rich and subtle harmonies of a people who shy from everything modern and worldly while cherishing the traditional, the spiritual, and the teachings of the Bible. -Robert Sobiezek, former Deputy Director and Curator of Photography, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Portraiture [use this one for as]
Exploration of the photographers’ immediate environment.
• Julia Margaret Cameron
• Alfred Stieglitz
• Theodore Lux Feininger
• Dianne Arbus
• Arnold Newman
Julia Margaret Cameron
Whisper of the Muse / Portrait of G.F. Watts
1865, Albumen print
The Rosebud Garden of Girls
Paul and Virginia
1865, Albumen print
Julia Margaret Cameron
1868, Albumen silver print
Julia Margaret Cameron
2002, Dye transfer print
Documenting information about a subject over a period of time, using the camera
to record the world.
Amish 62, Elkhart County, IN, 2002
Amish 34, Holmes County, OH, 2002
FSA – Farm Security Administration
Documented rural poor in America
Jobless on Edge of Pea Field
President of the Southern Tenant Farmer's Union
Imperial Valley, California
• Portraits taken in a controlled environment (studio, lighting etc),
sometimes can be ID images