British photographic history

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Calling all BPH members with Bohemian beard .....

And that excludes all the female BPH readers - I hope so! Unless you know of any with a great looking beard. Short or long, young or old! - it doesn't matter.

If you have one, or know someone who does, you're in luck 'cos you could have your image captured in glass by Julia Margaret Cameron, and pocket £250 along the way! Well, not by her directly, but Dimbola Museum and Galleries in Freshwater, Isle of Wight - the home of the famous 19th century photographer. The museum is running a competition for up to eight men to have their facial hair captured on glass using a 150-year-old Victorian method.

Julia Margaret Cameron photographed many eminent ‘celebrity’ Victorians including Charles Darwin (the image on the back of your £20 note!), Alfred Lord Tennyson, GF Watts and the Pre-Raphaelites William Holman Hunt and William M Rosetti. Many artistic Victorians, young and old sported beards as a personal outward sign of their bohemian and creative nature. Julia frequently immortalised these often impressive specimens. Now here’s your chance to contribute to the gathering of the best beards around today, authentically captured in the same processes as Julia used in her original home and workplace here at Dimbola.

The museum will use a specially adapted Victorian camera, as none of Julia Cameron's cameras are thought to exist, and a lens from 1866. The sitter and accompanying friends and family (3 max) must be able to come to Dimbola Museum and Galleries during the day on either the 14th, 15th, 17th or 18th April 2012 for the portrait sitting. Sittings will last between 2 ½ - 3 hrs. Sitters will each receive their own 10 x 8” print of their portrait. 

The friends will be able to follow the progress of the making of each individual plate from scratch, from pouring the liquid negative, sensitising in the darkroom, watching the portrait being taken, to seeing the plate being developed.

The 8 portraits will be exhibited at Dimbola Museum and Galleries during May 2012 where members of the public can vote for their favourite, there will then be a prize giving evening awarding the overall winner £250! 
The last day for nominations for the competition is 31 March. Entry details can be found here. And so, the search begins.

Make way, Movember......

Photo: Charles Darwin, (detail), Julia Margaret Cameron 1868.
Courtesy Royal Photographic Society.

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