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Julia Margaret Cameron
Henry Taylor. Author of "Philip Van Artevelde"
Albumen silver print, from glass negative
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1941, Accession Number: 41.21.23
Curatorial description (Accessed: 21 Sept 2017)
Cameron’s photographs were not universally admired—especially by fellow photographers. Reviewing her submissions to the 1864 exhibition of the Photographic Society of Scotland, which included two portraits of Taylor, the Photographic Journal reported with a condescension that infuriated her:
Mrs. Cameron exhibits her series of out-of-focus portraits of celebrities. We must give this lady credit for daring originality, but at the expense of all other photographic qualities. A true artist would employ all the resources at his disposal, in whatever branch of art he might practise. In these pictures all that is good in photography has been neglected, and the shortcomings of the art are prominently exhibited. We are sorry to have to speak thus severely on the works of a lady, but we feel compelled to do so in the interest of the art.
Cameron dismissed the condemnation of the photographic establishment, writing later that it would have dispirited her “had I not valued that criticism at its worth,” basking instead in the positive judgment of artists and friends.