Julia Margaret Cameron Photographs in the Stacks at the Toronto Reference Library
Last week we had someone doing research on the early Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. She was a ground breaking photographer, equally important for her gender as her unique vision of stark profile and full face close ups and repeatedly revisiting the same subjects (her family, children, servants and famous friends who patiently sat for her time after time).
You may be familiar with her work if not her name as her portraits of Darwin, Tennyson and Herschel are iconic. The many portraits of her niece Julia/Mrs Duckworth presage the face of her famous grand-niece Virginia Woolf. Both the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery hold substantial collections of her work. She is steeped in the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
I am especially struck by this pair of either reversed or simply similar portraits of her niece - as she developed negatives on glass she was able to reverse them - and print another version of the same photo - often a bit hazier due to the thickness of the glass. There is a wonderful description of this technique in the book The Complete Photographs of Julia Margaret Cameron pages 218 - 221.
Cameron's work was rediscovered by photography scholar Helmut Gernsheim who published the first study of her work in 1948. Gernsheim is well known for his discovery of Lewis Carroll's photographs and as well for his seminal book The History of Photography.
There were shows in museums of her works, a masteful biography on her as well as a book of her complete photographs. This handsome man on the cover of her biography is the sole photograph she did of Angelo Colarossi/Alessandro Colorossi - she called it "Iago - study from an Italian".