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Pioneering portraitist’s images on show

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 01:28

Aug. 20 - New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opens a new photographic retrospective of leading 19th Century portraitist, Julia Margaret Cameron. Tara Cleary reports.

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Ground-breaking portraiture that is almost 150 years old. The images are part of an exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art - a retrospective of Julia Margaret Cameron, one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography. Senior curator of photographs at the Met, Malcolm Daniel, says Cameron's brilliance lay in her pioneering vision. SOUNDBITE: Malcolm Daniel, senior curator of photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, saying (English): "She was not really interested in documentation of how people looked. It wasn't, as she said, about matte-making and skeleton-rendering of the form. It was about finding the inner spirit, the inner soul, of the person. And where most professional photographers aimed for absolute clarity and quick exposures she did the opposite. She slowed down the exposures so that it would purposely register a certain movement of the sitter, a certain sense of breadth, and make the person feel a little more alive." Cameron's innovative style was informed by her interest in painting and by her social circle, which included artists and poets such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson and painters from the Pre-Raphaelite movement. A mother of six and deeply religious, she only started creating her images at the age of 48. The show includes masterpieces from each of Cameron's three major bodies of work and is on view at the Met through early January 2014.

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Pioneering portraitist’s images on show

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 01:28