This week we have again celebrated International Women’s Day but did you know that some of the most pioneering early photographers have been women?

Portrait of Anna Atkins taken in 1861
By Unknown author – RPS Yorkshire[1], Public Domain

Anna Atkins (1799 – 1871) was a friend of William Fox Talbot, a botanist and a photographer. She published the first book that included photographic illustrations. Some claim that she was the first woman to take a photograph although others dispute this and say that this accolade belongs to Fox Talbot’s wife, Constance.

Photograph of Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron – By Henry Herschel Hay Cameron –
This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons as part of a project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See the Image and Data Resources Open Access Policy, Public Domain

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) was born in Calcutta, India. She was a member of the High Society in India and Britain. She was known for her portraits of High Society figures such as Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Alice Liddel. Her style was very much influenced by the painting “Old Masters” such as Raphael and Rembrandt. Her photographs depicted scenes from mythology, Christianity and Literature. She didn’t take up photography until she was 48 years old, after receiving a gift of a camera from her daughter, and her short career only lasted about 12 years.



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