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

Published:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin  Spring 1978

John Taylor, Pictorial Photography in Britain 1900-1920, London, 1978, pl. 19, p. 52;

William Buchanan, The Art of the Photographer J. Craig Annan 1864-1946, National Galleries of Scotland, 1992, pl. 28.