“There is a terrible truthfulness about photography. The ordinary academician gets hold of a pretty model, paints her as well as he can, calls her Juliet, and puts a nice verse Shakespeare underneath, and the picture is admired beyond measure. The photographer finds the same pretty girl, he dresses her up and photographs her, and calls her Juliet, but somehow it is no good – it is still Miss Wilkins, the model. It is too true to be Juliet.”

George Bernard Shaw

Photo: “Cassiopea”, Julia Margaret Cameron, 1886

“Pretty is the Woman in Darkness who Flowers with Loving”

In today’s world, it seems as if femininity is looked down upon: to have womanly features is seen as weak and inferior, especially when it comes to women of color. There is a trend in fashion photography where non-white women are being photographed as “hard” and “edgy”—details that are viewed as masculine. I challenge this by portraying women of color in a soft and romantic light as a way to say that feminine traits are not negative in the slightest.

This series of photographs is inspired by the style of Julia Margaret Cameron—a female photographer from the 1800s who worked in a pictorial style of photography:  a soft, dreamlike, slightly blurry, romantic, “pretty” look. Her techniques helped to blur the lines between commercial photography and fine art, showing that it is possible for one to become the other.

“I have seen in the mirror
and the eyes of my sisters
that pretty is the woman in darkness
who flowers with loving.

-Chirlane McCray, I Used To Think

Albrica Tierra