A Cameron card and the original

"Summer Days" (1866) by Julia Margaret Cameron. Postcard
Marni Sandweiss (Amon Carter Museum) postcard sent to Carlotta Corpron. January 28, 1981. From Carlotta Corpron Papers
The photograph is a reproduction of “Summer Days” (c. 1866) by Julia Margaret Cameron printed by George Eastman House.
Back of the postcard is viewable here as a pdf file
Julia Margaret Cameron :: 'Summer Days', ca. 1866. Albumen print from wet collodion glass negative. A photograph of two young women (May Prinsep and Mary Ryan) wearing straw hats, two young children (Freddy Gould and Elizabeth Keown) are seated in front. | V&A
Julia Margaret Cameron :: ‘Summer Days’, ca. 1866. Albumen print from wet collodion glass negative. A photograph of two young women (May Prinsep and Mary Ryan) wearing straw hats, two young children (Freddy Gould and Elizabeth Keown) are seated in front. | V&A Museum

In late 1865, Julia Margaret Cameron began using a larger camera. It held a 15 x 12 inch glass negative, rather than the 12 x 10 inch negative of her first camera. Early the next year she wrote to Henry Cole with great enthusiasm – but little modesty – about the new turn she had taken in her work.

Cameron initiated a series of large-scale, closeup heads that fulfilled her photographic vision. She saw them as a rejection of ‘mere conventional topographic photography – map-making and skeleton rendering of feature and form’ in favour of a less precise but more emotionally penetrating form of portraiture. Cameron also continued to make narrative and allegorical tableaux, which were larger and bolder than her previous efforts.

Cameron’s ability to capture large groups improved with experience as well as with the use of her new, larger lens. Her friend and photographic advisor, the scientist Sir John Herschel, wrote that this picture was ‘very beautiful, and the grouping perfect.’ quoted from V&A

Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris

Le ciel de l'horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Juin | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Juin [detail] | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l'horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Juin | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Juin | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l'horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 29 Mars [detail] | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 29 Mars [detail] | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l'horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 29 Mars 
From: Le ciel: notions d'astronomie à l'usage des gens du monde et de la jeunesse par Amédée Guillemin, Hachette, 1864.
Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 29 Mars
From: Le ciel: notions d’astronomie à l’usage des gens du monde et de la jeunesse par Amédée Guillemin, Hachette, 1864.
Le ciel de l'horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 22 Septembre | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 22 Septembre | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l'horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Décembre [detail] | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Décembre [detail] | BnF · Gallica
Le ciel de l'horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Décembre. From: Le ciel: notions d'astronomie à l'usage des gens du monde et de la jeunesse par Amédée Guillemin, Hachette, 1864.
Le ciel de l’horizon de Paris (Côté Sud ) vu à Minuit le 20 Décembre
From: Le ciel: notions d’astronomie à l’usage des gens du monde et de la jeunesse par Amédée Guillemin, Hachette, 1864.

Cameron’s “very first success”

Julia Margaret Cameron :: Annie Philpot (1857-1936), Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England, January 1864.
Julia Margaret Cameron :: Annie Philpot (1857-1936), Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England, January 1864. Albumen silver print.
Annie; Julia Margaret Cameron (British, born India, 1815 - 1879); January 1864; Albumen silver print; 17.9 × 14.3 cm (7 1/16 × 5 5/8 in.); 84.XZ.186.69; No Copyright - United States (http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/)
Julia Margaret Cameron (British, born India, 1815 – 1879) :: Annie; January 1864. Albumen silver print.
Julia Margaret Cameron :: Annie / "My very first success in Photography January 1864", January 1864. Albumen silver print.
Julia Margaret Cameron :: Annie / “My very first success in Photography January 1864”, January 1864. Albumen silver print.
Getty Open Content Program

In December 1863 Julia Margaret Cameron received the gift of a wooden box camera from her only daughter, Julia, and her son-in-law Charles Norman. She was forty-eight years old, a woman whose prodigious energies had been centered on raising her six children. Now, with her daughter married and her husband and three eldest sons away on her family coffee estates in Ceylon, she found herself at a transitional moment in her life. Taking up photography at this time, she began, in her own words “to arrest all beauty that came before me.”

Cameron’s retrospective written account of her career in photography, Annals of My Glass House (penned in 1874 and published posthumously in 1889), stresses the solitary nature of her early experiments: “I began with no knowledge of the art. I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass.” Despite this proclamation, Cameron may have already learned the basics of camera operation and chemistry from Oscar Gustave Rejlander, with whom she shared many mutual friends, most importantly Alfred Tennyson, her neighbor on the Isle of Wight. Another likely early tutor was her brother-in-law Lord Somers, an accomplished amateur photographer who made portraits of Cameron’s family circle.

After some three weeks of experimentation in the January cold of her studio at her home in Freshwater, Cameron created this portrait of Annie Philpot (1857-1936), the daughter of a local resident. She later recalled the circumstances surrounding its creation in Annals of My Glass House: “I was in transport of delight. I ran all over the house to search for gifts for the child. I felt as if she entirely had made the picture. I printed, toned, fixed and framed it, and presented it to her father that same day.” Cameron carefully trimmed this particular print for presentation in an album given to Lord Overstone in 1865. It is a picture of great simplicity and grace, conspicuously divided in terms of light and dark. The out-of-focus background and deep shadows around the model’s eyes were acceptable to Cameron, indicating that from the outset her criteria for “success” were notably out of step with convention. She proudly inscribed the picture’s mount “My very first success in photography.”

Adapted from Julian Cox. Julia Margaret Cameron, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996), 10. © 1996 The J. Paul Getty Museum

Dialogues: 1860s-1920s-1940s

Eugène Cuvelier :: Près de la Caverne, Terrain Brûlé, early 1860s. Salted paper print from paper negative. | src The Met
Eugène Cuvelier :: Près de la Caverne, Terrain Brûlé, early 1860s. Salted paper print from paper negative. | src The Met

“An atypical work for the naturalistically inclined Cuvelier, this highly Romantic image of two people sitting below the skeletons of burned pine trees and looking into the featureless distance like the contemplative figures in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, was no doubt a response to the startling sight of the charred landscape.” | quoted from The Met

Adolf Rossi :: On a frozen lake, 1946. Vintage gelatin silver print | Sign. Adolf Rossi a Easter Cape International Salon of Photography. 6th C. P. A. International Salon 1965, Hong Kong | src Prague Auctions
Adolf Rossi :: On a frozen lake, 1946. Vintage gelatin silver print | Sign. Adolf Rossi a Easter Cape International Salon of Photography. 6th C. P. A. International Salon 1965, Hong Kong | src Prague Auctions

“A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)

“Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)

Life is merely a fracas on an unmapped terrain, and the universe a geometry stricken with epilepsy. ― Emil Cioran, A Short History of Decay (1949)

Studio Felice Beato, 1860s-1880s

Studio of Felice Beato :: Flower Seller, ca. 1860-1880s. Albumen print – Hand Colored. Mounted on “Star Photo Leaf Album”. | src Holden Luntz Gallery
Studio of Felice Beato :: Four Ladies in a Garden, ca. 1860-1880s. Albumen print – Hand Colored. Mounted on album page. | src Holden Luntz Gallery
Studio of Felice Beato :: Girl Dancing and Two Girls Playing Shamisens, ca. 1860-1880s. Albumen print – Hand Colored. | src Holden Luntz Gallery

Sarah Bernhardt drapée de blanc

Félix Nadar :: Sarah Bernhardt [à mi-jambe, le visage de face, les mains posées sur une colonne], drapée de blanc, vers 1864. Épreuve sur papier albuminé d’après négatif sur verre au collodion. | src Les Nadar ~ BnF

Niagara falls, ca. 1860

George Barker :: Hanging Rock, Niagara Falls, ca. 1860. Albumen silver print. | src MFAH ~ Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
George Barker :: Hanging Rock, Niagara Falls, ca. 1860. Albumen silver print. | src MFAH ~ Museum of Fine Arts, Houston