Albumen print from wet collodion negative
Image: 28.4 x 22.4 cm (11 3/16 x 8 13/16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Mann 1996.343
Julia Jackson, the artist’s niece, namesake, goddaughter, and favorite model, is shown at age 21, a few weeks before her wedding. Cameron’s usual soft focus here imparts a sense of becoming, appropriate to this important transformation in a Victorian woman’s life. The daringly modern frontal close-up suggests reflection and self-questioning more characteristic of peering into a mirror than posing before a camera. These two images are from a series of four works based on the same negative, each posited by scholars to be a reversal of the preceding image. Reversing the images alters the face, suggesting that Cameron valued recording Jackson’s inner life more than capturing her likeness. Cameron advanced the photographic portrait from commerce to art and from physiognomic depiction to evocation of a sitter’s soul.
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