Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron
by Susan Goldman Rubin, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
published in 2014 by Candlewick Press
She was intelligent.
She was an individual.
A doting mother.
She knew what she wanted, and she knew just how you fit into her plans. And you’d better just straighten up and do what she said!
She was Julia Margaret Cameron, a pioneer in the art of photography, who didn’t give a hoot
what the critics said or how miserable it was for her models to hold long poses or how many time she failed. She had a vision to pursue — a vision to capture what was beautiful in her world and what was intrinsic to her friends’ natures, through the brand new medium of photography.
Susan Goldman Rubin’s outstanding new biography of Julia Margaret is an absolute joy to read. With captivating detail, her prose creams along, introducing us to Julia as a child in colonial India, living in a world of wealth and privilege among “mynah birds and green parakeets” until at age 3 she was sent to France to be raised by her grandmother. Feeding us manageable tidbits about the new inventions and processes of photography, Rubin guides us through Julia Margaret’s life, her love of art and beauty, her marriage and bustling household, and her first experiments with photography when she was almost 50 years old.
Cameron quickly became nearly obsessed with
learning and refining this art. During the next 11 years, she not only took thousands of photographs — a painfully slow, laborious process — but developed her own style and voice, and persisted in that until her work was finally recognized. Today, her photographs hang in museums in the United States and England, including MOMA and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Julia’s personality is bohemian, eccentric, and at times domineering, yet her work is soft, beautiful, and romantic. In just about 60 pages, Rubin vividly introduces us to her, adding colorful recollections from her models and famous friends from Alfred Tennyson to Lewis Carroll.
This text is accompanied by Bagram Ibatoulline’s gorgeous paintings. Wow! As always when I see his work, that’s what I find myself saying. Rich, full color spreads usher us into this 1800s world with grace and atmosphere, and keenly portray the strength and seriousness of Julia. His figures, light, and use of color are a marvel . There are also many small, sepia sketches, a number of reproductions of Cameron’s photographs, and even an Arts-and-Crafts-styled border running along the page edges, so the whole book is visually splendid.
Additional material includes a bibliography and listing of museums where you can see Cameron’s work. I hope many of you will find your way to this title. It’s an excellent book that could be read with children as young as 7, or enjoyed by older children …and adults!
Thank you, Susan and Bagram!