James Craig Annan

The Dark Mountains (1890)

About this artwork

This photograph was taken on Ben Vorlich, a mountain to the north of Loch Lomond. Its sombre, introspective mood is typical for this period of Annan’s work and the result of his skilled use of the photogravure technique. Over the years, the subject matter of this image has been interpreted in different ways. Soon after its first publication in 1895, it was thought to refer to the Old Testament, in which Moses receives the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. In 1901, another critic read into it: "Dantesque dreams, ideas of massive, awful grandeur, unknown threatening dangers". By 1986 the image was described as a Romantic landscape in the tradition of the painter Caspar David Friedrich.

James Craig Annan

James Craig Annan

James Craig Annan, the son of the photographer Thomas Annan, studied Chemistry and Natural Philosophy before joining the family firm T. Annan. His work was exhibited by Alfred Stieglitz in New York and illustrated in the journal 'Camera Work'. Annan was a member of the photographic association The Linked Ring and in 1904 became the first President of the International Society of Pictorial Photographers. He renewed public interest in the work of Hill and Adamson by producing exquisite photogravures from their calotype negatives. In later years he became an etchings dealer and no longer exhibited his own work.