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Remembering nude photographer Anne Brigman

December 3, 2011 /Photography News/ Born 146 years ago, on 3 December 1869, Anne Brigman is known as one of the first photographers to take the female nude in the natural landscape as a subject. 

"Soul of the Blasted Pine," a self-portrait of Anne Brigman taken in 1908
"Soul of the Blasted Pine," a self-portrait of Anne Brigman taken in 1908.
Trained as a painter, she turned to photography in 1901. Soon she was exhibiting in local photographic salons, and within two years she had developed a reputation as a master of pictorial photography. 

Brigman was one of two original California members of the art photography group the Photo-Secession, founded by Alfred Stieglitz, and she was the only Western photographer to be made a Fellow of the group. 

"The Pine Sprite" by Anne Brigman, 1907. Courtesy of MoPA
"The Pine Sprite" by Anne Brigman, 1907. Courtesy of MoPA
Brigman's photographs frequently focused on the female nude, dramatically situated in natural landscapes or trees. Many of her photos were taken in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in carefully selected locations and featuring elaborately staged poses. Brigman often featured herself as the subject of her images. After shooting the photographs, she would extensively touch up the negatives with paints, pencil, or superimposition.

Brigman died on 8 February 1950 at her sister's home in El Monte, California. A year before her death, she published a book of her poems and photographs titled Songs of a Pagan. 




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