Why do we celebrate Mother’s Day? Well, for a million and one reasons, that’s why. Mothers are the heart and soul of our lives and our homes. I think back to all the thankless nights my mom experienced when my brother and I were “horrible teenagers.” My mom had to cope with car accidents, running the streets with friends at night (this was long before the gamer generation, all we had was Pong, or a pocket full of quarters, a group of friends and a round of Tempest), and getting kicked out of Godfather’s Pizza for a fight between boyfriends (one ex and one current!). Oh, and running out of gas downtown accompanied by a late night call, oh, and receiving a court summons in the mailbox because I stuffed every parking ticket ever received into my glove box “to deal with later.” Regardless of our antics, she was, and is, always there for us. Mom helped to guide us through that tough transition from terrible teen to “decent and contributing members of society.” So, thank you Mom, for all that you do.
I want to celebrate photography’s famous moms as well with homage to Julia Margaret Cameron. Her daughter gave her a camera when she was 48 years old, and that began her career in photography in 1863. She had a short career, only eleven years of photographing, but during that time made some of the most beautiful, iconic portraits of her famous friends to include Alfred Lord Tennyson, Sir John Herschel, and Charles Darwin. Sir John Herschel, who himself was very instrumental to photography and early processes, introduced Cameron to photography in 1842 though correspondence and examples of the new process.
Photography’s establishment would criticize Cameron’s images. She would intentionally crop very close to her subject’s faces, allow the image to be in soft focus, and often the scratches or smudges of her process would remain on her plate. But, today, this is what makes her images so beautiful, and so iconic. Wedding, portrait and fine art photographers continue to emulate her soft focus style.
“My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the real & Ideal & sacrificing nothing of Truth by all possible devotion to poetry and beauty.”
– Julia Margaret Cameron to Sir John Herschel, 31 December 1864
Mother’s Day gives us a chance to say thank you and I love you, to the very special people in our lives – moms, mothers-in-law, aunts, grandmothers and special friends who might be moms as well. Thank you and I love you, to my mom, Tina, my mother-in-law Jean and my aunt, Vicki! You all have made a huge impact in my life!