Was there Instagram in the 19th century? | Masserman Photography

September 05, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

The digital filters available to users of Instagram, Hipstamatic and other similar photography software applications give users an ability to mimic artistic photography styles. Not many actually take the time to find out what those styles are trying to replicate in the first place. Go back in time a little bit, however, and you’ll see that these artistic styles have been popular among photographers and others for years.


One of the more renowned early photographers who had an artistic bent was Julia Margaret Cameron, a British woman whose career was as short as it was impactful. She received her first ever camera at the age of 48, but from the minute it was in her hands, a passion to use the camera for artistic expression emerged.


She had many eccentric subjects for her photos, which mirrored the unique nature of her own life as well as the circle of friends that she kept. Victorian style, poetry and religion served as influences on her work. She snapped pictures of some of the most vibrant personalities in British society, including Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir John Herschel, both of which show up in multiple photos.


When she first started, Julia was not adept at using her camera equipment and suffered critically for it. During the year 1864, the Photographic Journal gave her work a scathing review and enumerated what it felt were its many shortcomings. However, as her work and talent grew, she gained a highly theatrical style of posing her subjects in famous scenes, which gained her a following largely after her death in 1879.


It’s important to see where we came from in order to know where we’re going. Masserman Photography and all contemporary photographers who see the art in what they do owe a great deal to Julia Margaret Cameron. We’re very aware of the power that photography has to express much more than just an image.


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