Bullock Cart, Segovia Annan, James Craig  (Scottish, 1864-1946)

"A Bullock Cart, Segovia", made by Annan on a trip to Spain in 1913, is at the opposite pole stylistically from his earliest works. Here Annan records a slice of life. He has made his negative with the model in mid-gesture and the framing set to truncate the bodies of the bullocks to realize stopped motion. Although his negative was exposed instantaneously, Annan was not content to let his picture stand on this quality alone. To reproduce it in photogravure, he worked the copper printing plate by hand to introduce surface tone similar to that of an etching, which photogravure resembles in technique. The result, combining the tonal subtleties of this process with the drama of a shrewdly observed and framed moment, caught spontaneously is an excellent example of the unique capabilities of photogravure in that there is an intentional ambiguity between the purely photographic effects and those produced by hand. Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1913, Annan traveled to Spain, accompanied by his friend, painter and etcher William Strang. Working side by side with Strang, Annan created the Spanish Series. According to Weston Naef, in this series Annan retains his early love of subject in motion as well as posed portraiture of local types, showing concern for costume, coiffure and body ornament. Annan’s visual concerns were for light, shadow and motion more than the picturesque relics of Spain.

Although the series was never published, eight images were included by Stieglitz in one of the last issues of Camera Work (Camera Work XLV 1914) The issue was entirely devoted to Annan’s work in Spain. Stieglitz comments "Annan has never done any finer work. His work is always a delight. It is so straightforward. As an artist he continues to grow. The photogravures are by himself. They too demonstrate a decided growth in this line of work in which Annan has for years been a master." P. 44

Reproduced / Exhibited

Buchanan, William, and J C. Annan. The Art of the Photographer: J. Craig Annan, 1864-1946. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 1992. plate 28.


Harker, Margaret F. The Linked Ring: The Secession Movement in Photography in Britain, 1892-1910. London: Heinemann, 1979.

Buchanan, William, The Art of the Photographer J. Craig Annan 1864-1946, National Galleries of Scotland, 1992

Buchanan, William. J. Craig Annan: Selected Texts and Bibliography. Oxford: Clio Press, 1994.

Naef, Weston J. The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz: Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography. New York: Viking Press, 1978. Plate 3. Cat. 40.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, "Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz" New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spring 1978

Taylor, John. Pictorial Photography in Britain, 1900-1920. Cambridge, England: Chadwyck-Healey, 1900.