Pictorial photographer Anne Brigman was a free spirit long before the phrase "free spirit" became a cliché. She was born in Hawaii, moved to California at age 16, married a sea captain at 25, and built a photographic career by photographing herself and her friends in the nude in settings of spectacular natural beauty. She manipulated negatives with paint and etching tools to get the effects she wanted, going so far as to add or remove features of the landscape—including trees and the moon. The inspiration for much of her work came from the California landscape, where she took photographs on extended camping trips in the mountains. As one of the first photographers to take the female nude in the natural landscape as a subject, Brigman’s work ties the female body to the natural world in a way that anticipates late twentieth-century ecofeminism and the societal and cultural connections it draws between women and the environment.
The nude for Anne Brigman symbolized the creative energy of women, empowering and opposite to the voyeuristic presentations of the female form of the time. She said in reference to her work: "my pictures tell of my freedom of soul, of my emancipation from fear.”
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