Annan was particularly drawn to photography’s ability to render mood and atmosphere, as in this photograph. In it, Annan has employed his expertise in photogravure to subdue the edges of the figures in the foreground and unify the tonal character of the entire image in order to effect a stronger and more unified composition. The dynamic disintegration of form verging on the abstract is reminiscent of the paintings of James MacNeill Whistler-one of Annan’s favorite artists. 
Since the early nineties James Craig Annan had been one of the chief forces in the development of pictorial photography. This portfolio of prints is his masterpiece. Limited to an edition of 75, the eleven plates include some of Annan’s most sophisticated and celebrated early work. The small photogravures masterfully etched and printed by Annan himself on Japan tissue and individually signed, explore for the first time the instantaneous moments accessible only to the camera combined with the control, art and craft of traditional etching. The tension between photography emulating painting and a truthful photography able to represent a new art form is clearly visible in Venice and Lombardy and reveals Annan’s ability to articulate the most advanced issues of his time. The portfolio, according to Ken Jacobson, contains signed, tiny, gem-like photogravures that might be seen as the precursor for the style of Camera Work – Stieglitz’s widely praised journal, vehicle of modern photography and photogravure tour-de-force. Stieglitz greatly admired Annan and was certainly influenced by this work.
Buchanan, William, and J C. Annan. The Art of the Photographer: J. Craig Annan, 1864-1946. Edinburgh: National Galleries of Scotland, 1992. plate 7.
MET Accession Number: 49.55.274
Buchanan, William. J. Craig Annan: Selected Texts and Bibliography. Oxford: Clio Press, 1994. fig. 9. P. 8 and p 83
Bologna, Gabriella, ‘The Aesthetics of British Photography. A Case Study: James Craig Annan’s Portfolio Venice and Lombardy’ in Anon. 2013. Aesthetic Lives : ‘New Experiences New Subjects of Poetry New Forms of Art’. High Wycombe Bucks England: Rivendale Press