(From Wikipedia, the free
Brigman (1869 - 1950) was an American photographer and one of the original
members of the Photo-Secession movement in America. Her most famous images
were taken between 1900 and 1920, and depict nude women in primordial,
Brigman was born in Hawaii in 1869 and moved to California when she was
sixteen. In 1894 she married a sea captain, Martin Brigman. She was
trained as a painter but began taking photos around 1902. That year,
Alfred Stieglitz noticed Brigman's work and invited her to join the
Photo-Secession, an elite group of pictorialist American photographers who
were dedicated to transforming photography into a higher form of art.
Brigman was the only Fellow of the society west of the Mississippi River,
and one of the few women. Her photos were printed in three issues of
Stieglitz's journal, Camera Work.
In California, she became revered by West Coast photographers and her
photography influenced many of her contemporaries. Here, she was also
known as an actress in local plays, and as a poet performing both her own
work and more popular pieces such as Enoch Arden. An admirer of the work
of George Wharton James, she photographed him on at least one occasion.
Brigman died in 1950 in California.
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's deliberately counter-cultural images suggested bohemianism and
female liberation. Her work challenged the establishment's cultural norms
and defied convention, instead embracing pagan antiquity. The raw
emotional intensity and barbaric strength of her photos contrasted with
the carefully calculated and composed images of Stieglitz and other modern