An email slipped into our Document Scotland inboxes recently which we felt would be good to share with everyone, telling us of a new book out on Thomas Annan, Scottish documentary photographer.
“…latest Open Access book, Thomas Annan of Glasgow: Pioneer of the Documentary Photograph by Lionel Gossman, a study of nineteenth-century photography, urban life, and Scotland – the first account of Annan’s full achievement as a photographer.
The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow, Thomas Annan’s photographic record of the slums of the city prior to their demolition in accordance with the City of Glasgow Improvements Act of 1866, is widely recognized as a classic of nineteenth-century documentary photography. However, Annan’s achievement as a photographer of paintings, portraits, and landscapes is less widely known. To repair this neglect, Thomas Annan of Glasgow offers a handy, comprehensive and copiously illustrated overview of the full range of the photographer’s work. Successive chapters deal with each of the main fields of his activity, touching along the way on issues such as the nineteenth-century debate over the status of photography — a mechanical practice or an artistic one? — and the still ongoing controversies surrounding the documentary photograph in particular.
Lionel Gossman, a native of Glasgow whose own graduation portrait was made, in 1951, at the studio of T. &. R. Annan in Sauchiehall Street, has spent his career as a teacher of literature at universities in the United States (Johns Hopkins and Princeton). Here he returns to his roots to produce a tribute to one of his city’s most talented and conscientious nineteenth-century artists. He chose to publish with the innovative Open Book Publishers so that Thomas Annan of Glasgow could be read for free online and reach the largest number of readers possible.
It is also available in interactive PDF and e-book versions.”