James Craig Annan (Scottish, 1864-1946)

Annan was a pioneer in the technique of photogravure, a time-intensive method of photographic intaglio printing using copper plates. He was known for his commercial portrait photography, as well as personal portraiture, genre scenes, and landscapes.
For instance, British actress Ellen Terry is framed by a dark studio background. Annan used the subtleties of photogravure to his advantage; his photographs are notable for their painterly quality, delicate textures, and soft shifts in light. He advocated for photography to be held in equal standing with painting and drawing.

Son of photographer Thomas Annan, he studied chemistry and natural philosophy at Anderson’s College in Glasgow before returning home to work at the family photography studio. Annan then moved to Vienna with his father to learn the technique of photogravure from an early inventor of the process, artist Karel Klíč. Known for both his commercial and personal work, Annan was named to the Linked Ring in 1894—a society of British photographers who sought to establish photography’s place within the fine art world. Annan was exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society in London; the Paris Salon; and Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession Galleries in New York. His work can be found at the National Galleries of Scotland; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the National Portrait Gallery, London.