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The Artistry of Julia Margaret Cameron and Lisen Stibeck in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Dimbola Museum & Galleries.

Within the mesmerising tapestry of Dimbola, the lives and craftsmanship of two extraordinary photographers connect, each guided by a unique blend of artistic expression. Julia Margaret Cameron, the iconic pioneer of 20th-century photography, and Lisen Stibeck, a contemporary Swedish photographic artist, find unexpected parallels in their creative journeys. Born more than a century apart, these artists share an unwavering devotion to the craft, an exploration of the feminine experience, and the manifestation of dreamlike realities. 

Cameron, a groundbreaker during an era that reluctantly embraced both photography as an art form and women as serious artists, embarked on her photographic odyssey at the age of 48, gifted a camera by her daughter and son-in-law. Her photographic legacy has solidified her as one of the foremost portrait artists of all time, despite her late start. 

In contrast, Stibeck’s journey presents a fascinating fusion of modern and traditional photographic techniques. She discovered photography while already enjoying a successful career as a jewellery designer. A fortuitous encounter with a book by Mary Ellen Mark ignited her passion, eventually leading to an enduring mentorship and friendship with the iconic documentary photographer herself. 

“Showing Lisen Stibeck’s work – to tie in with our celebrations of Mrs Cameron’s 208th birthday, and with our own 30th anniversary of reopening the house – would be in tune both with the glorious past here, and with the future direction of art-based photography”, says Dr Brian Hinton, Executive Chair Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, Dimbola. 

For both Cameron and Stibeck, the sentiment expressed by Cameron in Annals of My Glass House (penned in 1874 and published in 1889), still resonates profoundly: “I began with no knowledge of the art. I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass.” These artists, since their photographic beginnings, have endlessly captured images, oftentimes discarding countless negatives in pursuit of the perfect shot. 

About the Artist:
Photographic Artist Lisen Stibeck works on long term projects. Her keen interest in teenage identity developed into her photo book “Daughters”, winning critical attention and international awards. More recently, her focus turned to the inner landscape of the psyche, opening up a world of dreams and archetypes as she delved into a form of magical realism. In her latest work, “Undertow”, her black and white imagery carries a suggestion of emerging narratives, at times evoking loss, grief and hope and her brilliant abstract color work is a celebration of life. Lisen Stibeck is based in Sweden and regularly spends time in Morocco and France. 

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