Julia Margaret Cameron and English skies

Most of Cameron's photographs are blurry. Partly because of the long focus times but she was also partial to the softer effect of slight misfocus (a tactic PH Emerson wrote about appreciatingly and in full agreement). Yet her photographs made in India are pin sharp, which I originally put down to the fact that the light was so good, but now I wonder if it's also because those inhabitants didn't matter to her in the same way.

Also England's rain and dismal skies (all year around, of course) meant that those who inhabited her world are forever trapped in Victorian melancholia. Her subjects, friends, family and cultural icons were shivering amateurs too, of course. The only time she photographed a professional artist's model (handsome Italian men were shipped over for painters and she nabbed one) their ability to hold still meant that one of her portraits is actually fairly sharp,but mostly they are living and breathing and waiting and moving and drowning everso slightly.





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