January 25, 2010

About Anne Brigman, by Art Ward

written by Art Ward, photographer.

I had never heard of Anne Brigman until May 2009, when Dublin based photographer Willie Dillon made a comment that an image Elena Buga and I had created, reminded him of Anne Brigman (1869-1950).

From that moment on I was determined to find out
who Anne Brigman was ?

Anne Brigman

Art Ward
"Child of Lir"
Art Model and UdA Art Editor Elena Buga

Anne Brigman

This remarkable woman was born in Hawaii in 1869. Her grandparents had arrived as missionaries from England in 1828 and her parents lived there until she was around sixteen when they moved to Los Gatos in California.

Anne Brigman was already an artist and writer before taking up photography in 1901. This choice and pursuit for a woman in the political and social environment of America in 1901 was to say the least revolutionary but Anne Brigman was not an ordinary woman.

Art Ward
"Root of Expression"
Art Model Elena Buga

Anne Brigman
"Soul of the Blasted Pine"

Full of enthusiasm, dreams and immense creativity, she explored the medium and within two years of taking her first image, had established herself as a formidable photographer in what was a predominantly male pursuit, where she gained a reputation for pictorial mastery.

As well as pictorial imagery, Anne Brigman had a deep interest and affinity with the natural landscape and in particular the Sierra Nevada. She also had a burning desire to create figurative nudes both male and female in that landscape. She saw their place with the landscape not separate from it :
" In all of my years of work with the lens I've dreamed of and loved to work with the human figure - to embody it in rocks and trees, to make it part of the elements, not apart from them.
Rare humans, rare in their minds as well as in their slim, fine bodies, have given me of their simple beauty and freedom, that I might weave them into the sagas of these wind swept trees on high peaks."

She was one of the first photographer’s to take the figurative nude as a subject in the landscape and present it in a way where it was part of the landscape in beautifully staged art nude pieces.

Art Ward
"Light of Carnmoon"
Art Model Elena Buga

"Spirit dance"
Art Model Elena Buga

Her work is captivating in its simplicity, vision, depth and spirit. The unique unseen elements that make visuals go beyond the visual is saturating her work.

It is more remarkable that this feminine spirit, was a century ahead of her time, not only did she conceptually create her visuals she would also at times be the subject of them. Her passion and creative energy so evident in the lengths she went to create her work. She drew great inspiration from the landscape and especially the trees, some of which became her friends…

" One day on one of my wanderings I found a juniper - the most wonderful juniper that I've met in my eighteen years of friendship among them… It was a great character like the Man of Gallilee or Moses the Law-giver, or the Lord Buddha, or Abraham Lincoln… Storm and stress well borne made it strong and beautiful. I climbed into it. Here was the perfect place for a figure, here the place for the right arm to rest, and even though my feet were made clumsy by boots, I could see and feel where the feet would fit perfectly into the cleft that went to its base."

Art Ward
"Spirit Run"
Art Model Elena Buga

Although the nude had been taken in the landscape prior to Anne Brigman, what separated her work from the rest and gave it distinction was the unique fact that she saw the figure as nature, her nudes were part of nature, not ‘in’ nature.

It was this fact that establishes her as one of the pioneers of the 'spirit' of art nude in the landscape.

Anne Brigman
"Nude in a burled tree"

Anne Brigman
"The Source"

The nude for Anne Brigman symbolised the creative energy of women, empowering and opposite to the voyueristic 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.”

She gave a lot back to her community and those who valued her work and shared her vision, young contemporaries like Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange and Imogen Cunningham all recognised her as an influence in their development and indeed joined her on treks into the Sierra Nevada.

Anne Brigman
"The Lone Pine"

To fully appreciate Anne Brigman is to remember that she achieved all this at a time when societies morals relating to a women where archaic.

Her persona, free spirit and her dynamic and challenging ways where a scandal before she even took an image. She wore trousers, defied the correctness of her time, her gender and her society, to create art which she did beautifully. Today her work still carries that intangible quality that her spirit urged her to create. Anne Brigman was an artist and a brilliant photographer who also wrote and painted.

Personally, I am honored that one of my ‘novice’ images of a ‘nude in the landscape’ would remotely remind someone of this remarkable, creative and gifted women and that this remark led me to discover her work.

Madams and Mademoiselles, is it not great to know a female pioneer the ‘spirit’ of art nude as part of the landscape ?

I think it is brilliant !

Art Ward
"Spirit of the Ancient Sentinel"
Art Model Elena Buga

Matthew Scherfenberg, by Brooke Lynne

Matthew Scherfenberg can be found at his website, on deviantart, Model Mayhem and One Model Place.

You can find his work with Art Model
Brooke Lynne in their deviantart gallery.

Matthew Scherfenberg

by Brooke Lynne
UdA Art Editor

Working with Matthew and making art with him in his studio is like stumbling upon an endless void of creative potential and possibility.
He is a true art model's dream to collaborate with. He always has some image or idea conceptualized in his mind.


Even when I have suggested a spontaneous shoot with no concept in mind, he blows me away by his immediate inventiveness and his prowess of innovation, with not even the slightest hint of being thrown off guard by the lack of warning.

"Torn Shy"
Art Model Brooke Lynne

He knows exactly how to make a masterpiece from the concept he's working with, even if he's not quite sure about how it's going to be achieved. He instinctively knows how the model should relate to the concept and how to adjust the pose, down to the centimeter.

He is a complete control freak in his studio with the most pliable flexibility I've ever witnessed in a photographer.

Art Model Brooke Lynne

"Wet Whip"
Art Model
Brooke Lynne

Matthew is a genius at what he does, but he'll be the first to tell you that he is nowhere near where he'd eventually like to be in his photography. He is always striving to refine and better his art through deliberate practice. He has influenced this attitude in me tremendously, and I've learned so much from him.

He is, no doubt, one of the reasons why I became so captivated and passionate about nude fine art in the first place.
If it weren't for him, in all likelihood I wouldn't have started art modeling at all.

Art Model Brooke Lynne

Matthew found me on a community website in spring of 2007, asked me to look at his work and to "be brave" and try modeling for him.

I'm so glad I was brave and took the leap. He was my very first photographer, and continues to be an inspiration to me - photographically and generally - to this day.

"White Valley"
Art Model Dani

"Tan Tube"
Art Model Heather

What Matthew says about himself :

"Storm and the Greek"
Art Model The Peach

I had never thought of myself as any kind of artist.

I've always been very technical, and felt I would be some kind of scientist. Initially my interest in photography grew from its technical complexity. Sometime in college, something changed. Ever since then if you ask me what I do, I say, "I'm a fine art photographer."

"Little Tips"
Art Model Brooke Lynne

I discovered that, to most people, the human form is the most beautiful and compelling subject. One way or another it touches all of us. For that reason, I choose to capture that beauty and present it disconnected from connotations of sexuality, identity, and emotion, and present only the aesthetic element.

"Pink Foil"

Art Model Youn Kyung

I don't want to be sterile.
I want to provoke and stimulate.
To inspire.

"Black Cotton Candy"
Art Model Heather

My work is very much a collaboration of model and photographer. I spend great time and effort inventing new ways to capture a unique image. I try to keep the vision vague until the model inspires me. The model’s form and movement bring energy, temperament, and aesthetic complexity.

In this fusion I see the moment that makes me release the shutter. Just a few of these moments survive and are refined to become finished work.

Art Model e-string


Matthew Scherfenberg ©

Andrew Davidovsky

You'll admire the admirable work of Andrew Davidovsky, from Russia, at his official site, flickr, this one, his live journal.

"The bird II"

"No title"

Art Model Julia

Art Model Julia

A short idea of the talent of Chip Willis

His official site, his photoblog.

"Photographer of things beautiful."

Dollybeck's interview

" It doesn't matter how cold or dirty a location can be, if it has the right atmosphere I will shoot there. I have worked nude in negative temperatures just to get the shot !" Dollybeck

by Gavin Bell -

You'll admire Dollybeck at : her official site, net model, deviantART, Model Mayhem, One Model Place, Purestorm, her first feature here inside.

by André Brito -

Dollybeck, when did you begin modeling ?

Around the age of 17 years old.

What are the things you like the best about modeling ?

Meeting new and creative people, bringing to life a concept and travelling. Having the opportunity to wear some amazing clothes on the catwalk.

by Peter Coulson
"The Housewife Series"

What do you dislike the most ?

Lots of waiting around !

And finally, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a model ?

Every shoot or job that I am booked for is an accomplishment to me.

by Aref Jaroudy
"The backyard"

Of course. I know it's a difficult question, but have you a favourite photo ? In fact, could you choose one among the wonderful pictures you've made ?

I have lots of favourite photos of myself. It would be hard to choose just one, I have been very lucky to work with some amazing photographers. A happy snap that my husband took of me playing in the snow for the first time in Australia is very cute.

by John Tisbury -

by UK Shots
"An afternoon in Prague"

by Scott James Prebble -
"Attack Mode"

The photographers she works with !

Helder Mendes, Emmanuel MICHA, Iron Blokeman, Stefano Brunesci, Twisted Pixels, Lara Jade , André Brito , Nick Brown, John Tisbury , Arc photography, Sonara Parker, Richard Eraut, UK shots, Ian Biggs, Cheirodon, Expression Box, Martyn Davis, Xanaduimages, Andrew Stubbs, FeticheArt, Anthony Dudley, David Shaughnessy, Mark Scholey, Peterlan, George Wong, Geoffrey Pereira, Kevin Cordeiro, Lawrenceng photo, Achanmw, Leonard OOi, Kenny Yeoh, Robert Woolrich, Paul Wesley, Matt Briggs, Bell Pics, Doug Faircloth , Antons Salon, John de Lombardo, Sleek Images, Christyna Hessova, Pat H, Stefan Postles, 1 Dream photography, David Beaver, Allen A...

by Chris Meredith
"Not forgotten"

My aim is always to perform to the best of my abilities and I hope to continue shooting and creating great work.


by Strut

"Upside down Miss Jayne"

And also :

Scott James Prebble , Cate McDonald, Bearcage Productions, Jon Lee, Ellen Duffy, D-eye, Michael Smith, Robin Wallace-Crabbe, Nyk Sykes, Laurie Kippel, Chris Harding, Ben Tydeers, Nik Studios, Gavin Bell , Darren Phillips , Richard Wood, Derek Rogers, Dalai-Harma, Stephen Trutwin , Srdjan Nikolic, Wayne Quilliam, Peter Coulson, John Kantek, Phil Chaplin, Stanb , Robert Coppa, Gerhardt Thompson , Wayne Bradford, Vinzenz Sedlak, Mark Wilson, Daniel Allen, David Taylor, Tony Rogers, Esh Photography, Malcolm Smith, Aref Jaroudy, Beau eRomantica , Pharyn photography, Lesley Sutton.

by Gerhardt Thompson -

by Gerhardt Thompson
"Going Somewhere"

What are you thinking, nude, in front of a lens ?

To be honest I forget that I am nude in front of a lens. I am concentrating more on the job in hand.

by Darren Phillips -

" A stunning and professional model. Even in adverse conditions Donna was up to the challenge. Thank you for all your fine efforts, would love to catch up again soon." Darren Phillips

What makes you so creative ? Such an inspiration source...

My over-active imagination for sure, I often switch off and go into fantasy world. I also keep a note book and write ideas down. Sometimes it can be spur of the moment.

Where do you find your poses ? You play with the camera like an actress, you act, you interpret...

I have studied myself naked so many times in front of the mirror at home.

It is important to know your own body and limitations and you can only achieve this through practising. A pose that works for one person may not work for another.

I also attend body balance classes about 4 times a week. The class is a mixture of yoga, pilates, and tai-chi, which has helped me enormously with my flexibility and strength.

by Lara Jade -
"Lady of the lake"

What kind of ambiance inspires you ?

Surreal, peaceful and harsh. It doesn't matter how cold or dirty a location can be, if it has the right atmosphere I will shoot there. I have worked nude in negative temperatures just to get the shot !

What makes you confident to plan a shooting with a photographer you don't know ?

I think my age and experience helps a lot. I have never had a bad experience to date. I always seek references and check the work of a photographer prior to working with them. I always try to chat to them prior to the shoot as well and discuss ideas. I think communication is very important.

by Beau eRomantica -

You're right. It's the most important thing on earth... Our world is made of and by words. Dollybeck, can you feel that your body is in the right place, in the right moment, in the best lighting ?

I think it is something that comes with experience. But, for me, yes most of the time, I know the limitations of my body.

by Nik Studios
"Foxy Lady"

And are you waiting to be directed or do you prefer to stay free to move as you feel ?

I'm happy to do either, but it does depend upon the photographer to be honest.
Amateur photographers generally seem to be grateful that they do not have to guide a model in posing and can concentrate on the shoot.

Chatting to a photographer first establishes what kind of mood or feel they want from the shoot. At times you can move freely and the photographer will tell you what he likes or may not like, or may just ask you to move slightly one way or the other.

by Ian Biggs
"Tending to memories"

How do you feel at the end of a shooting ? Tired, I suppose ?...

I am always exhausted at the end of a shoot. A lot of the time I can shoot all day and be fine, but as soon as we finish, boy I am tired. Especially shooting in harsh environments. In my view being tired shows you have worked hard ;-)

by Gavin Bell -

To end, do you find the photographers give you all the credit you deserve ?

Yes I do. I have made so many good friends with photographers that I have worked with.

Thanks ! It was a tough job, I know, and I'm honoured by your support and your trust.

(and thanks to Iris Dassault for her precious help for the questions !)