Pictorialism in the Victorian Era;

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Pictorialism in the Victorian Era;
The Works of Julia Margaret Cameron and Madame Yevonde

A Personal Research Project Looking at
Two Female Photographers of the Victorian Era
and Their Styles of Photography

Contents

Introduction………………………………....................................................................3

Chapter 1 - Pictorialism……………………………….................................................4

Chapter 2 - Julia Margaret Cameron………………………………..............................5

Chapter 3 - Madame Yevonde……………………………….......................................6

Chapter 4 - Analysis of Photos……………………………….................................7 -10

“Mountain Nymph” Julia Margaret Cameron 1866.……………………………...7

“The Parting of Lancelot and Guinevere” Julia Margaret Cameron 1875.……….8

“Mrs. Richard Hart-Davis as ‘Ariel’ Madame Yevonde 1935.…….……………..9

“Lady Dorothy Campbell as ‘Niobe’” Madame Yevonde 1935…………………10

Chapter 5 - How Research Affected My Work……………………………….......11 -13

Conclusion………………………………....................................................................14

References……………………………….....................................................................15

Introduction

In this investigation I will look at the genre of Pictorialism and consider the styles of Julia Margaret Cameron and Madame Yevonde.

I particularly admire Yvonne’s “Goddess Series” produced in 1935 and Cameron’s style of portraiture.

Using Greek mythology as inspiration, and contemporary photographic techniques, I hope to produce a series of portraits that are true to the ideal of Pictorialism.

I also want to briefly examine the way these female photographers portray their female subjects. Chapter 1 - Pictorialism

Pictorialism was in vogue from around 1885 and declined after 1914 with the emergence of Modernism.

Pictorialists strove to make photographs as much like paintings as possible. Portraits were often linked to biblical, classical or literary subjects. The emotional impact of an image was more important than what was in front of the camera. The aim was to demonstrate that photography was the equal of traditional painting, rather than just a technical skill that anybody could master.

The technology available in the 19th Century necessitated slow exposure times and the use of studio settings. Subjects were posed to achieve the ideal composition. Most of these pictures were black and white or sepia toned.

Examples of this approach include; combination printing, the use of soft focus, special filters and lens coatings and manipulation of negatives. The use of gum dichromate lessened detail and produced a more artistic image. Rough surface printing papers also reduced sharpness. Some artists “etched” the surface of their prints using fine needles.

Attempts to make fine art photography can be traced back to Oscar Gustave Reijlander, Julia Margaret Cameron and Madame Yevonde.

The debate whether photography is art continues unresolved today. Photographers such as Ansel Adams still strive to produce unique artworks that are indistinguishable from paintings. Chapter 2 - Julia Margaret Cameron

Cameron started photography in the early 1860s and experimented for about ten years, producing extraordinary portraits of Victorian England. Her photographs were mainly two types; those of famous Victorians (such as Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin) and recreations of literary and historical events.

She was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite School, and her explicit goal was to secure the status of high art for photography. Cameron’s posed photographs were designed to emulate oil paintings from historic time periods; including rich details like costumes and intricate draperies. She drew on eclectic sources for inspiration; The Old/New Testament, Greek mythology, Renaissance painting, and the classics of English literature.

Her female portraits are of women as...
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