James Craig Annan was a photographer.
Annan did not receive any formal artistic tuition, instead studying chemistry and natural philosophy prior to becoming involved in his family's photographic business, T. & R. Annan. When his father secured the British patent rights in 1893, Annan was sent to Vienna to learn the technique of 'heliogravure' or photogravure from Karel Klíc. In the spring of 1892 Annan visited the Netherlands with his friend, Sir David Young Cameron, who informed Annan's renowned 'pictorial photography'. There he produced photogravures printed in colour (red, green and brown), or 'monotones' as he referred to them, influenced by the Hague school and Dutch 17th Century masters.
Annan also associated with other contemporary Glasgow painters and etchers, including Muirhead Bone and William Strang.
In the early 1890s Annan developed prints from negatives by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, thereby encouraging a new appreciation for their work. Annan enjoyed international recognition through his association with the group of photographers known as the Linked Ring, his use of the handheld camera being adopted by Alfred Steiglitz. His status was confirmed by a one-man show at the Royal Photographic Society in 1900.
In 1894 Annan and Cameron travelled to Italy and visited Venice, resulting in Annan's Venice and Lombardy, a folio of 11 photogravures (etched and printed from copperplates), published in 1896. In an interview conducted in the same year Annan cited Japanese Art, Velasquez and Whistler as major influences. The works Annan produced in Venice testify to his deep regard for Whistler's aesthetic principles. Through Annan, Whistler exerted a powerful influence upon other photographers, such as Stieglitz and Alvin Langdon Coburn.
Heijbroek, J.F. and Margaret F. MacDonald, Whistler and Holland, Zwolle, 1997 MacDonald, Margaret F., Palaces in the Night: Whistler and Venice, Aldershot, 2001 Lawson, Julie, 'James Craig Annan',The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, at www.groveart.com (accessed 2003.06.26).