The Truth About Photography

I have a new DSLR camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T3i to be exact. I am slowly learning all of the many features that this camera has to offer. While I love the accessibility that digital cameras have brought to photography, I can’t help but miss the days in the dark room leaning over the trays, poking and prodding at the photo you were praying to turn out… it slowly emerges from the chemical bath. Those just picking up a digital camera may never know the pain staking art process involved with using film cameras. I admit that the instant gratification of digital photography is a technological turn in the right direction.

However, today I thought that I would recognize Julia Margaret Cameron, an artist who captured the truth aspect of photography when it was a fairly new art form.

Julia Margaret Cameron The Angel at the Tomb 1870 albumen print

Cameron was one of the first photographers to take close-up shots of her models in an effort to keep up with the painters. Since photography was new for this time, it was seen as a method to create reference images for paintings such as Beata Beatrix, by Dante Gabriel Rosetti (below). Photography was not yet seen as an art form by critics. Cameron set out to change this view through her choice of subjects, composition and carefully placed lighting.

Dante Gabriel Rosseti Beata Beatrix 1864-1870 oil on canvas

Julia Margaret Cameron The May Queen 1874 

Julia Margaret Cameron The parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere 1874


Julia Margaret Cameron The Passion Flower at the Gate 1870 Albumen silver print

Julia Margaret Cameron The Day Spring 1865 Albumen Silver Print

Julia Margaret Cameron The Red and White Roses 1865


4 thoughts on “The Truth About Photography

    • Cameron wasn’t a journalistic photographer. I think that Lancelot and Guinevere was shot for an illustration. The children were most likely posed in her studio. I’m sure that they had to pose for a long time before the image was captured. Those expressions are interesting. Something else could have been going on, you never know.

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