In a first for Dimbola Museum and Galleries, their latest photographic exhibition, Julia Margaret Cameron: Close Up will be previewed online in a film made by Isle of Wight photographer Julian Winslow with Gail Middleton (Mrs Middleton’s Books) as the curator-presenter.
Julia Margaret Cameron: Close Up focuses on Julia’s astonishing portraits of great men. The selection was chosen by her son Henry for an album he was compiling called Tennyson and his friends, which he published in 1893, some 14 years after his mother’s death. The album was discovered by Gail Middleton which sparked the idea for an exhibition.
Lockdown required creative thinking
Gail Middleton said:
“When I was first shown this extraordinary album it struck me that this was the perfect opportunity to bring a heartfelt curation of Julia’s work to a wider public but then the Coronavirus lockdown happened.
“So, much in the spirit of Julia, we looked for resourceful ways to get this exhibition into the public eye. Julia was known for her self-promotion she even placed a gallery of her photographs in a railway station. Working with Julian in a creative but socially distant way we managed to synthesize the exhibition into a short film.
“We really hope viewers enjoy hearing about this incredible woman who changed the face of photography from a hen-house on the Isle of Wight.”
Astonishing images of exceptional people
Close Up captures the true essence of Julia’s portrait work and for that we owe Henry a debt of gratitude. What perhaps is lost over time is just how original and startling these images were.
The composition, intimacy, lighting, exposure and styling was simply unlike anything seen before.
In addition, her subjects were great thinkers, scientists and artists, as a result we have a body of astonishing images of exceptional people who have shaped our civilisation – a truly wonderful legacy.
During her lifetime trailblazing photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron produced over 1,200 images. The range of her work was diverse from Pre-Raphaelite inspired tableaus to portraits. 14 years after her death, her son Henry Cameron published Tennyson and his Friends, which included several portraits taken by his mother.
The images, many taken in her converted hen house on the Isle of Wight, were of leading Victorian stars: Tennyson, Herschel, Darwin, Browning and Carlyle.
In curating her work, Henry sheds light on the true power of Julia’s revolutionary close-up portrait, providing us with an insight into what makes a person exceptional.
Julia Margaret Cameron: Close Up also features two of Henry’s portraits, one of American poet and Virginia Woolf’s godfather, James Russell Lowell and the other of the great actor Henry Irving.
The exhibition will be shown alongside the rare volume of Tennyson and his Friends 1893 when Dimbola Museum and Galleries re-open.
Hinton: Extremely challenging times for the arts
Brian Hinton, Chairman of Dimbola Museum and Galleries said:
“These are extremely challenging times for the arts and many venues will be facing uncertain futures.
“We are grateful to Natural Enterprise, the SLEP and the Local Growth Fund for assisting us in new ways to bring the extraordinary work of Julia Margaret Cameron into people’s homes.
“We are also working with Words and Stuff to produce an accompanying book to generate funds for Dimbola.”
For more information visit the Website.
Image: © Julian Winslow