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Thomas Annan - Photographer of Glasgow Book Launch and Q&A

Book Launch: Thomas Annan: Photographer of Glasgow (Amanda Maddox and Sara Stevenson, Getty Publications)

Q&A & Book Signing with co-author Sara Stevenson
Street Level Photoworks, Sat 04 Novemer, 3pm

Free but ticketed

Thomas Annan (1829–1887) was the preeminent photographer of Glasgow in the mid-nineteenth century, a period when the rise in industry and population dramatically altered the landscape of the “second city” of the British Empire. Often working in conjunction with civic projects, Annan produced numerous series that underscore the transformation of the city and its environs, though he remains best known for one series in particular: a group of enigmatic photographs of central Glasgow's narrow alleys, or closes, on the verge of demolition. These haunting images, made between 1868 and 1871 and regarded as precursors of the documentary tradition in photography, represent the notion of progress that underpins much of Annan’s oeuvre. 

Annan’s publication history serves as the organizing principle for this book, which considers both the breadth of his body of work as well as the multiple formats in which his photographs appeared and circulated. Featured here are seven examples— including private albums and commercial books—that focus on subjects as varied as the city’s streets and closes, the Loch Katrine aqueduct, Glasgow College, the cathedral, and the country estates of the landed gentry, highlighting Annan’s extensive engagement with the city of Glasgow. Plates from each of these works are faithfully reproduced in full color, and an introductory essay by the leading authority on Annan surveys the life and career of this widely influential photographer. 

Sara Stevenson is an independent scholar and founding curator of photography at the National Gallery of Scotland. She is a former guest scholar in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. 

A Q+A between co-author Sara Stevenson and artist Frank McElhinney will precede the launch and book signing. In conjunction with the Mitchell Library, where Sara will give a lecture on the 31st October.