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Julia Margaret Cameron was a British Photographer born in 1815 and living until 1879. She's relatively unheard of though, despite the faces that she photographed and the developments she made in her short career (spanning just eleven years.) Unlike many modern photographers and prodigy's, Julia is quite unique in that she didn't start photographing until she was 48 years old and was given a camera as a gift. Her style was not appreciated in her time, but like many who have made an impact on society, she became more famous and recognized long after her death.

Location: Inside Dimbola Lodge, Home to Julie Cameron
Source: Kathryn Dawson Photography

I was lucky enough last Summer, to be able to visit Julia's former home - Dimbola Lodge - on the Isle of Wight, England. It was here that I discovered the photographer and was both warmed and proud to find that a woman had made History with her photographic skill. There are so many male photographers out there who can lay claim to capturing truly wonderful images, that often the women of Julia's time get forgotten.

"I long to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied."
~Julie Cameron

Perhaps what is most startling about Julia's short career was that within a year of receiving her first camera, she was already a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland. Another lesson that can be learned from Julia is that she carefully and meticulously registered each and every one of her portrait images with the copyright office and kept very detailed permission forms and records. Her business sense, her shrewd approach to developing her hobby as a career, meant that she held many portraits -often the only ones in existence - of very famous people.

Within a few years, Julia was shooting professionally and some of her captures included Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Ellen Terry and George Frederic Watts. She developed a close friendship with Lord Tennyson which led to her collaborating with him to photograph illustrations for his Idylls of the King.

You can now walk around the house that belonged to Julia and see the views that she saw from her window of the sea crashing onto the rocks of Freshwater Bay, you can feel the presence of creativity from the wooden floors and rickety staircases of her home - and you almost instantly know that something great was born there.

The Bedroom by Kaz-D

A testimony of how successful one can become is a great lesson to be drawn from the career of Julia but her life and her short career is also a sad reminder of how lucky we are now, and how restrictive things were then. In 1875 she moved with her husband to Ceylon which is now known as Sri Lanka - and it was here that her Photography dwindled with her inability to obtain chemicals and pure water to develop and print her Photographs.

Source: Kathryn Dawson Photography

Add a Comment:
petrova Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist
Very interesting, I'd love to visit her home one day :aww:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It's worth the trek! :P
Nameda Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
amazing story!
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:nod: inspiring photographer :)
Nameda Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
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January 5, 2013
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