Monday, November 17, 2014

Stand There! She Shouted (2014)

Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. 2014. Candlewick. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Stand There! She Shouted is a biography of Julia Margaret Cameron, a noted photographer of the nineteenth century. From birth to death, details of her life are highlighted for young readers. She was born in India, raised in France, recuperated from an illness in Cape Town, South Africa, where she met her future husband, Charles Hay Cameron. The book does spend some time on her personal life: daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother. But it also spends plenty of time on her hobby/career as a photographer. How she learned about photography. Her first camera. Her first photographs. Her first failures. Her first successes. Who she photographed and why. Her favorite techniques and unique style. (She liked the subject to be slightly out of focus. She liked the softness.) How many photographs she took--3,000. One thing the book did really well was focus on how her sitters or posers felt. Did they like posing for her? How did they describe the experience? I liked these accounts of her work.

The book is illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. I love his work. I do. But. I wish there had been more photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron.

Favorite quotes:
She selected her sitters carefully. In a letter to a friend, she said that there were three reasons she photographed: "great beauty--great celebrity--and great friendship." (58)
As a photographer, she was ruthless. Children, her favorite subject, feared her. Julia Margaret lurked by the door, ready to stop a passing child for hours of posing. Edith Bradley Ellison recalled that the children of Freshwater "loved" her but "fled from her." When they saw her, they'd call out, "She's coming! She'll catch one of us!" And when Julia Margaret caught them, she bribed them with candy to pose. (46)

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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