On November 23rd, Inventi Ensemble and I will premiere my 2021 Merlyn Myer Commission at Melbourne Recital Centre. It is a suite titled The Glasshouse, inspired by portraits taken by Victorian-era photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879).

Nat Bartch

Many years ago I first encountered Cameron’s work online, and later had the chance to hold some of her prints in the palm of my hand at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her images are breathtaking: striking, yet intimate; whimsical yet vulnerable. A dreamy, romantic world where my own music lives too. As a feminist, I was drawn not only to Cameron’s achievement in becoming a female photographer in her forties, after her children were grown, tackling many gender barriers to participation, some of which still exist today.  But equally importantly, I was also drawn to her subjects.

Often, her sitters were women and children, from various classes of society...