A pioneering Scottish photographer, James Craig Annan was a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and a pioneer in the art of photography. James learned the photogravure process directly from its Austrian inventor in 1883, and the firm specialized in it as well.
As his father passed away in 1887, Annan continued to run the business successfully, but about 1890, he became restless and began to pursue his artistic interests. A particular interest of his was photography’s ability to convey mood and atmosphere, as in this photograph. He used his expertise in photogravure to unify the tonal character and subdue the edges of the figures in the foreground to create a more unified and stronger composition. This dynamic disintegration of form is reminiscent of James MacNeill Whistler’s paintings-one of Annan’s favorite artists.