Naked & All Alone In The Wild; The Female Pioneer of Erotic Surrealism
‘‘I’ve swung far from the straight and narrow path of straight photography… I’ve done some hokus pokus that would make the shadow of Daguerre haunt me for a heretic.’’
- Anne Brigman
Gently dangerous, feral, free, and beautiful; these are primordial words that define Anne Brigman as an exemplary illustration of the feminine. Born in Honolulu, on a December of 1869 - she was the woman, the ultimate muse - a straightaway end explicit archetype of the dreams and fears of the males from all cultures and eras. Anne needed - in order to survive - to run up the mountain, undress behind the oaks and swim inside the cold winter lake.
In due course, Brigman adapted this behaviour into art. She began taking a camera with her and capturing her delicate body fusing into the heart of a lightning-blasted pine tree, or twisting ethereally inside a cracked oak. Promptly, her mystifying work transformed her into an obscure enchantress amongst mortals…
Anne was the precursor of the early 20th century artistic movement called Photo Secession, a society of bohemians whose flamboyant and poetic glance for photographic manipulation exhilarated the established artistic community.
As an adolescent, Brigman moved to Los Gatos, California with her family - where, she spent her days painting, writing poetry, and acting in local productions. Later, she married Martin Brigman, a sea captain
Anne often travelled the oceans with him until, in one of those several voyages, she injured herself so terribly that one of her breast had to be removed. Shortly after her husband divorced her - she remained in her splendid California home, surrounded by birds and in the company of her dog, Rory.
She continued evolving her technique (touching up superimposed negatives with pencil and color for countless hours) up to the 1930s when her fading vision obliged her to surrender the visual arts - thence Anne began writing poetry. She crafted a book of her photographs and poetry titled Songs of a Pagan, yet the moment she found a publisher, World War II bursted hastily - lingering the printing of her work until 1949, a year before her death (there are 5 copies left available on Amazon… This is not an indirect, but my birthday is coming soon).
Anne’s talent and life perseveres in the artistry of various creators who came after her - her kind vigour and her gifted gaze left behind a radiance of inspiration for us to grasp unto. Thereby, shall we?