Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) was one of the most innovative and influential photographers in the history of the medium. Though criticized in her own lifetime, her distinctive use of close-up and soft-focus is now considered groundbreaking. The Victoria and Albert Museum’s extensive holdings represent the largest collection of her work anywhere in the world, newly united with treasures from the Royal Photographic Society. Drawing on this unparalleled collection, this book presents an engaging introduction to Cameron’s life and work through more than 100 of her most important photographs. Three sections explore Cameron’s unique artistry and range: from her early experiments in the art of photography, to her pioneering portraits of public figures such as Charles Darwin and Sir John Herschel, to her allegorical compositions and the artistic tableaus she created to illustrate Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Also including pages from the original manuscript of Cameron’s autobiography and insightful explanatory texts, Arresting Beauty tells the story of her pioneering career and lasting legacy in one accessible and beautiful volume.
Lisa Springer is Curator of Touring Exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Marta Weiss is Senior Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is an expert on nineteenth-century photography and has published widely on the subject.