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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2017

Transforming the House: The Photography of Julia Margaret Cameron

From the book Band 18 Housing Capital

  • Alice Detjen


This contribution seek to explore a space and symbolic site that was of greatest importance to the Anglo-Indian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879): Dimbola, her home on the Isle of Wight from 1860-1874. It is there that Cameron took up photography, soon thereafter turning her home into a studio. Her maids acted as models and assistants while neighbours, friends, and family were persuaded to sit for her. How did Cameron come to be so focused on and fascinated by this setting? Given her transcultural biography and bourgeois status, it is likely that ideas of “home” and “identity” were essential components of her inquiry, both personally and as an artist. Why was photography chosen as the medium of this inquiry? Having earned a great deal of recognition for her portraits of “famous men and fair women”, the artist figured as a hostess to Victorian society - a significant female role model of domestic culture for the Anglo-Indian community in which she had previously lived.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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