Photo by Julia Margaret Cameron
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This delicate photograph, taken on the Isle of Wight, depicts Florence Fisher, the niece of the photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron. Cameron made six studies of her niece, one which she curiously titled “Study of St. John the Baptist.”
Cameron was a daring photographer and was not afraid to experiment with scale. Here, for example, the girl’s frontal gaze and the contrast of tones give us an intensely intimate look at the innocent child. Flowers were central to Cameron’s compositions. She often had female sitters hold lilies or roses, and some images depict the subject literally enveloped by foliage. In 1855, Cameron wrote to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “I always think that flowers tell as much of the bounty of God's love as the Firmament shows of His handiwork."