Chasing rabbits down holes is a favorite endeavor of mine. It slips my mind how I came upon Anne Brigman's work, but her worked called to me during one of my trips down the "hole." Brigman was a painter turned photographer at the turn of the last century. She earned fame as a master of female nudes and often served as her own model. Her hauntingly beautiful images captivate and enchant her audience.
Brigman made nature her studio. She hiked into California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains toting enormous gear for extended stays. She drew on pagan mythology, Romanticism, and her childhood exposure to the beliefs of native Hawaiians for inspiration, earning her the reputation of a high priestess of nature.
She was active in the growing bohemian community of the San Francisco Bay Area and became close friends with writer Jack London and poet/naturalist Charles Keeler. She struck a correspondence friendship with Alfred Stieglitz, whose wife happened to be Georgia O'Keefe. Brigman wrote Stieglitz in praise of his work and Stieglitz in turn soon became captivated with Brigman's photography and they began to influence each other's work.
In the mid-1930s she also began writing classes and discovered a calling for poetry. At the urging of her writing instructor, she assembled a book of her poems and photographs called Songs of a Pagan. She found a publisher in 1941, but because of World War II the book was not printed until 1949, just a year before her death.
Songs of a Pagan is now a rare collectible. It is the result of years of study, photography, and exchange of ideas with artists and writers. Fortunately, it is available in its entirety online, presented here for your enjoyment. How will it inspire your work?