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Julia Margaret Cameron, fellow lover of terrible equipment

Tagged: lenses

Here’s an interesting post from Artsy about how three Victorian women photographers influenced photography and painting. It’s a fascinating article and not too long. I am glad that these photographers are still relevant.

I’m also glad to read modernist lion Beaumont Newhall criticizing Julia Margaret Cameron’s work: “She ‘used badly made lenses to destroy detail, and appears to have them specially built to give poor definition.’” (The History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present.) He says it like it’s such a horrible crime.

Cameron also apparently treasured imperfections like spots, pinholes, and abrasions. She sure sounds like someone I’d love to hang out with. For me, the imperfections are perfect, making the photographs even more true by accepting the natural ambiguity of life.

Julia Margaret Cameron, Il Penseroso, 1864. Photo via The J. Paul Getty Museum.
Julia Margaret Cameron (British, born India, 1815 - 1879) Il Penseroso, about 1864, Albumen silver print 25.4 × 20 cm (10 × 7 7/8 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

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