Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron - Portraits to Dream In

National Portrait Gallery


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Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron - Portraits to Dream In / ISBN 9781855145535 / 224-page hardback, 9.1 x 11.6 inches, published by National Portrait Gallery


Enticing, ethereal photographs from two visionaries who used portraiture as an exploration of the “dream space”

Living and working over a century apart, British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and American photographer Francesca Woodman experienced vastly different ways of making and understanding images. Yet the two share more similarities than expected. Both artists had brief careers lasting less than 15 years; while neither enjoyed popularity and success during their lives, they have posthumously received widespread acclaim. Their portraits feature ethereal, experimental qualities that connect them soundly across time.

The beautifully illustrated catalog, accompanying the exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery, London, includes Woodman’s and Cameron’s best-known photographs as well as less familiar images. The book begins with three feature essays that consider Cameron and Woodman simultaneously and moves on to 10 thematic sections interspersing works by the two artists. Portraits to Dream In makes new connections between the work of two innovative photographers who pushed the boundaries of the photographic medium and experimented with ideas of beauty, symbolism, transformation and storytelling to produce some of art history’s most compelling and admired images.

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79) took up photography in the 1860s and was soon elected to both the Photographic Society of London and the Photographic Society of Scotland. She photographed her friends and family as well as notable figures of Victorian England, including Charles Darwin, Ellen Terry and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Francesca Woodman (1958–81) worked in both the United States and Italy and made her first mature photograph at the age of 13. Her lifetime exhibitions include the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts (1976); Galleria Ugo Ferrante, Rome (1978); and the Alternative Museum, New York (1980). Her artist’s book, Some Disordered Interior Geometries, was published by Synapse Press in 1981.

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