Wikimedia. Exploiting the desperate needs of impoverished immigrants, landlords turned the old multi-story townhouses (as Engels noted, “the houses in Scottish towns are generally four, five or six stories high”)68 into warrens of small, usually one-room apartments and, to make matters even worse, crammed additional jerry-built tenements into the former yards or gardens between them. In 1868, Glasgow’s population – which had quadrupled in fifty years – was growing far faster than the city could accommodate. See also Julie Lawson, “The Problem of Poverty and the Picturesque”: “Annan is known to have been a religious man, involved in the Church’s effort to improve the lot of the inhabitants through voluntary education schemes. (Frankfurt: Societätsverlag, 1980), p. 217. A similar appreciation of blur is expressed by Graham Bush in his edition of the photographs of old and threatened sites in London by Henry Dixon and the brothers Alfred and John Bool: “The photographs often contain activity. Photograph from Glasgow University Special Collections. “The Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially. 12Alarmed by the threat to all the city’s inhabitants — the well-to-do as well as the poor — from the filth, crime and disease at its very heart, the generally progressive city fathers moved to remedy the situation. [...] As these formalist ideals of beauty seem, in retrospect, linked to a certain historical mood, optimism about the modern age (the new vision, the new era), so the decline of the standards of photographic purity represented by Weston [...] has accompanied the moral letdown experienced in recent decades. Beside them, ten students of landscape painting set to copying the same site. 212-15. Are they a focus of interest in themselves or are they simply staffage, providing a sense of scale as in landscape paintings and photographs? cit., p. 42. 5:15-16).92, 21This connection is all the more plausible as Provost Blackie and John Carrick, who were behind the slum demolition plan and the commission to make photographic records of the condemned streets and wynds, were enthusiastic admirers of the redesigning of Paris under Napoleon III and Haussmann, and had led a civic delegation from Glasgow to the French capital in June 1866, the very year in which the City Improvements Act was passed. I have accepted the numbers given by A.L. Similarly for Wilfried Wiegand, ), Annan’s “Aufnahmen aus den Slums von Glasgow (1866-1977) sind der erste Höhepunkt sozialkritischer Photographie” (p. 217). (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890), p. 63. There is disagreement among the scholars even on the number of copies of the 1900 edition. “Thomas Annan’s photographs of Glasgow (1868-71) are haunting images of disease-ridden crumbling alleyways destined for demolition. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library. 6:14 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Making, preserving and collecting records, written and visual, was in fact a major preoccupation of the century of revolutionary change. (1820-1870), the goal of faithfully recording and documenting the national architectural heritage, or simply old buildings that had fallen into disrepair or were about to be torn down, was almost inevitably accompanied by a feeling for the “picturesque,” inasmuch as the picturesque, from the outset, was associated with the old, the decaying, the neglected or unappreciated. Instead of the albumen prints of the first album, however, Annan made use, for this second album, of Joseph Swan’s carbon process.83 Finally, in 1900, Annan’s son, James Craig Annan, brought out a larger photogravure edition, referred to above (p. 7), with additional photographs by the Annan firm — but not by Thomas Annan himself. The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories, Whether it is John Thomson in the streets of London or Thomas Annan in the slums of Glasgow; [...] whether it is Jacob Riis among the ‘poor,’ the ‘ idle’ and the ‘vicious’ of Mulberry Bend or Captain Hooper among the victims of the Madras famine of 1876: what we see is the extension of a ‘procedure of objectification and subjection’ [...]. The documentary photograph offered an age of revolutionary change, acutely aware of the transience of everything, a valued means of recording what was inevitably subject to the effects of time. 39-40), A Literary, Commercial and Social Review, Past and Present. Cover design. 6:21-22). 118 High Street,” from. (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2002), pp. Photograph from 'The old closes and streets of Glasgow', by Thomas Annan, Glasgow, 1900. (26.7 x 21cm.) The beautiful, according to one writer at the end of the eighteenth century, depends on “ideas of youth and freshness,” while the picturesque depends on “those of age, and even decay.” Thus Archibald Burns, a successful photographer of old streets and buildings in Edinburgh, entitled his 1868 volume, . X (October 31, 1843), 228-31 (pp. They were taken between 1868 and 1871 as part of a commission from the City of . James Lawson makes the interesting argument that the seemingly contradictory “social-historical” and “art-critical” approaches to photography, especially documentary photography, reflect two essential aspects of the medium: its origin and its development. See William Buchanan, James Craig Annan: Selected Texts and Bibliography. Beyond this court the second passage led to a second square court, occupied in the same way by its dunghill; and from this court there was yet a third passage leading to a third court, and third dungheap. ). 6:23].). Albumen print. This photograph was taken as “plate number 7” and it shows the Close, No. [...] In the lower lodging-houses ten, twelve and sometimes twenty persons of both sexes and all ages sleep promiscuously on the floor in different degrees of nakedness. Conditions were appalling. 133 Naomi Rosenblum catches something of this polyvalence in a brief comment on Annan’s The Old Closes and Streets in her World History of Photography (New York: Abbeville Press, 2007): “A project that originated in the desire to make a record of slum buildings slated for demolition in central Glasgow also helped establish the documentary style even though its purpose was nostalgic rather than reformist. 6:1). The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow (Glasgow: J. MacLehose and Sons, 1900), p. 22. Close, No. 6:19 “The London Costermonger.” Engraving of daguerreotype photograph by Richard Beard in Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor: A Cyclopædia of the Condition and Earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and those that will not work (London: Griffin, Bohn & Co., 1861), vol. “Midnight Scenes and Social Photographs,” pp. Sensitivity to the manner in which light gives form and dimension to inert object also links Annan’s work with that of French photographers Charles Marville and Eugène Atget, and supplies further evidence that the documentary style in itself is not specific to images commissioned for activist programs.” (pp. 46However conscientiously “referential” they may be in providing the record he was commissioned by the Improvements Trust to produce, Thomas Annan’s photographs do not exclude or eliminate “aesthetic,” “expressive” or “conative” functions. Others maintained that the photographs raised awareness; a contemporary paper reported: ‘ People who still delude themselves with the idea that the famine, if it has any existence at all, has been greatly exaggerated, could see [the photos], and they would lay aside that notion for good… Their knowledge will enable them to testify that these photographs are not representations of exceptional cases of suffering, but are typical of the actual conditions of immense numbers of people in the Madras Presidency.’ But soon, news came out that after taking such photos, Hooper would send the famine victims back to the countryside without giving them food, treatment or help. On the allegedly still influential (and in the writer’s view deleterious) ambition of photography to be regarded in the same light as painting, see Paul Strand, “The Art Motive in Photography,”, , 70 (1923), 612-15. Figures stare at the camera, moving perhaps an arm to leave a smear on the plate. And second, is social documentary photography, as has sometimes been alleged, ultimately voyeuristic and exploitative, an act of aggression toward its “subjects”? In the text accompanying Annan’s photograph of George Square (the pages are unnumbered), Forbes refers to “the very distinct and otherwise excellent view presented by our artist”; in the text accompanying the photograph of the Royal Exchange, to “the beautiful view of the Exchange, here presented by our artist”; and in the text accompanying three photographs of the Cathedral, to “the third of these views presented by our artist.”. R. Mitchell, This City Now: Glasgow and its Working-Class Past, A Glasgow Mosaic: Explorations among the City’s Architectural Icons, (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2013). 116 See especially Julie Lawson, “The Problem of Poverty and the Picturesque,” pp. In a selection of Annan’s photographs of Glasgow, James McCarroll compares Annan to Jacob Riis in his depiction of slum life: “His views of the closes are genuinely moving and full of pathos. Annan’s best-known, most widely admired, and also most problematical work is the collection of photographs entitled The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow. Whatever its social problems, it was one of the richest and most splendid of European cities.”, In one twelve-day period in 1847, no fewer than 12,940 poor Irish landed directly in Glasgow or in, , ed. [...] It is a disconcerting fact that pollution can be beautiful. Out of language one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. While conscientiously executing the task assigned to him, however, Annan also seems to have wanted to give a human face to the often luridly described inhabitants of the condemned tenements. ]), Henry Lunn Jr. estimated that there were at most 25 to 40 sets of the 1878 album (misdescribed as the “1877” album). Everything that appeared smooth, bright, symmetrical, new, whole, and strong, on the other hand, was placed in the categories of the beautiful or the sublime.” Disengaged from notions of perfection and suitability and from such functions as moral enlightenment and edification (as in the formula of French classicism, “plaire et instruire”), rejecting established views of the beautiful and privileging the more refined esthetic sense required to appreciate unusual, non-traditional representations of the world, the “picturesque,” in the view of the same scholar, was “based on an over-functionalization of the esthetic.” As it is “more demanding to value something worn and decayed than to like [...] what is acknowledged as beautiful, [...] the picturesque provides a test of whether the spectator is always able to assume the perspective of ‘disinterested pleasure’ that Kant designated as a precondition of the esthetic attitude.”96 The purely documentary function of photography, the function most commonly attributed to the use of the camera, thus came to be associated, in the case of the documentation of old or decaying buildings, with a nascent counter-claim that photography is an artistic medium like painting. — are removed from the photogravure edition of 1900. In one twelve-day period in 1847, no fewer than 12,940 poor Irish landed directly in Glasgow or in nearby Ardrossan (Damer, , p. 54). A similar concern to inventory and record buildings and monuments, especially those under threat of decay or destruction, inspired the celebrated 24-volume, (1828-78) by Baron Taylor and the poet Charles Nodier. 3-33 (p. 5). According to Fisher, the extant copies of the 1871 album are held by the Mitchell Library, the library of the University of Glasgow, the library of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Though some of the better-off citizens were doubtless troubled in their Christian conscience by the inhuman conditions many of their fellow-creatures were living in, few ventured into the noisome and dangerous parts of their city. [...] It requires a formal conceit (like Todd Walker’s solarized photographs [...]) or a thematic obsession (like Eakins with the male nude [...]) to make work easily recognizable. 6:7 Sassoferrato, “The Virgin in Prayer.” 1638-1652. See also Anita Mozley, “Thomas Annan of Glasgow,” Image, 20, no. , p. 151. 5-7), 130 Annan’s destiny was by no means unique. As Susan Sontag noted in her seminal work, of 1973, referring in turn to Walter Benjamin’s “Kleine Geschichte der Photographie” of 1931: “From the start, photographers not only set themselves the task of recording a disappearing world but were so employed by those hastening its disappearance.”, “The insistent recurrence of the word ‘Old’ in the titles of [Annan’s] publications” was noted by R, Wolfgang Kemp, “Images of Decay,” pp. , Plate 14. The many similar closes generate varied compositions which balance blocks and patches of light and dark, the reflective and matt, and, above all, differentiate the textures of the stonework that dominates the environment.” (p. 823). 6:18 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. The brilliant and p, These, it has been alleged, were “sold commercially” and “circulated in private photograph collections, commercially produced albums, and as postcards into the early twentieth century.”. There were outbreaks of typhus in 1818, 1832, 1837, 1847, and 1851-52; cholera epidemics in 1832, 1848-49, and 1853-54, the last two claiming almost 8,000 lives.73 Though some of the better-off citizens were doubtless troubled in their Christian conscience by the inhuman conditions many of their fellow-creatures were living in, few ventured into the noisome and dangerous parts of their city.74 However, a detailed account of these as a scene of hunger, drunkenness, promiscuity, prostitution, violence and crime was readily available to all in a widely-read book put out by a Glasgow publisher in 1858, just a couple of years after Annan opened his photographic business in the city. 6:4 Jacob Riis, “Bandits’ Roost,” from his How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York, with Illustrations chiefly from Photographs taken by the Author (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1890), p. 63. Though the album is untitled and undated, the front cover carries in gilt tooling, below the city’s, The passage quoted concerning the second album was put together from the Glasgow Town Council minut, There is disagreement among the scholars even on the number of copies of the 1900 edition. 44 Incredible Photographs of the Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow From the 1860s and 1870s. OpenEdition est un portail de ressources électroniques en sciences humaines et sociales. The Exchange and other public buildings, and the shops in Buchanan Street are very magnificent; the latter especially excelling those of London.” But when he went into the old city to view the University, he was appalled. Some have obviously been told to stand still; others go about their business unconscious of the camera. , Plate 21. Do they convey the alleged degradation and dehumanization of the slum’s inhabitants or could they be intended, in contrast, to manifest the inhabitants’ humanity? Naomi Rosenblum catches something of this polyvalence in a brief comment on Annan’s. Photographers of that time, however, went to great lengths to keep their subjects still and exposures as short as possible.” (, Old London, photographed by Henry Dixon and Alfred & John Bool for the Society for Photographing Relics of Old London, [London: Academy Editions/New York St Martin’s Press, 1975], p. 10), (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977), p. 106: “One of the central characteristics of photography is that process by which original uses are modified, eventually supplanted by other uses—most notably by the discourse of art into which any photograph can be absorbed.”, E.g. 42-43, on Annan’s “q, It would be rash to assert that such intentions played absolutely no role. A Middle-brow Art (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990; orig. Martha Rosler, “In, Around, and Afterthoughts (on documentary photography),” in Martha Rosler, The power relation underlying both the act of photographing social scenes and the viewing of such photographs is a central motif of recent critical writing on photography by the artist Martha Rosler and the critic John Tagg. Anderson put it in his, The Artistic Side of Photography in Theory and Practice, (London, 1910), can serve as “the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual meaning.” See McKenzie, “Introduction: Pictorialism and its Malcontents,”, Photography 1900: The Edinburgh Symposium (Proceedings of the Conference of the European Society for the History of Photography), , ed. 102 Cited in Kemp, “Images of Decay,” p. 111. 15The problem of interpreting the photographs is compounded by two factors. [...] In a house near the foot of Saltmarket, ‘Silvercraig’s land’, Oliver Cromwell lodged while in Glasgow, as Darnley, the husband of Mary, also had lodged, in Rottenrow, off High Street.” Forbes appears to have known of the upcoming demolition of the degraded buildings and to have accepted it as necessary for the health and wellbeing of their inhabitants and of the city as a whole. Cf. I call “photographic referent” not the, real thing to which an image or a sign refers but the, real thing which has been placed before the lens, without which there would be no photograph. Many of the photographs exhibited, however, were formally quite beautiful. 179-94 (pp. A man of liberal and Christian commitment, he would have welcomed the reforms and approved the legislation of the Civic Improvement Trust for whom he carried out the commission.” (p. 43) See likewise Normand, Scottish Photography: A History: “Annan was a religious man, an advocate of abstention from alcohol, and something of a socially conscious reformer. Taurus, 2007), p. 38. What I intentionalize in a photograph [...] is neither Art nor Communication, it is Reference, which is the founding order of Photography. Thomas Annan (1829–1887) was commissioned to document the rapidly changing urban landscape. Change is not to be feared. Scottish architectural photography cit. There were many small 1-room homes, built close together, several stories high, with narrow lanes and open sewers between them . [Thomas Annan; William Young; Glasgow City Improvement Trust. 118 High Street,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 15. 6:23). Thomas Annan (1829 -1887) was the son of a Fife farmer and flax spinner and lived for most of his life in Glasgow. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Photographs of the Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow, 1868-77 at 92, 118-19, 150-51. In the same vein, Lady Elizabeth Eastlake in London Quarterly Review (March, 1857) — see endnote 37. 3-11), Rosler’s and Tagg’s critiques, “focussing on the aestheticization of the documentary image [...] were accepted and absorbed into mainstream writing on photography.” (p. 5) He quotes from an article severely critical of the great Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado in, (9 September 1991): “Salgado is too busy with the compositional aspect of his pictures and with finding the ‘grace’ and ‘beauty’ in the twisted forms of his anguished subjects. 138-207 and the moving account of the transformation of the city, section by section, from its industrial heyday to the present in two books by Ian. He relished the hanging washing which made the closes even more dark, and one or two of the photographs are more about these hanging clothes — the flapping shirts and the little lines of socks — than about the buildings he was paid to photograph. “Between 1870 and 1914,” in the words of the novelist and journalist Allan Massie, “Glasgow reached its apogee. 46 Saltmarket,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 22. However, insofar as the mechanical process was recognized in the product, it was denied artistic credentials, and very many manufacturing processes never became artistic means. 122-23. 18I shall devote the remainder of this chapter to a closer consideration of two issues raised by the scholarly discussion of The Old Closes and Streets. Annan is now best known for his series of photographs, made between 1868 and his death in 1887, documenting the narrow streets of the inner-city slums of Glasgow. Ibid., p. 604. However conscientiously “referential” they may be in providing the record he was commissioned by the Improvements Trust to produce, Thomas Annan’s photographs do not exclude or eliminate “aesthetic,” “expressive” or “conative” functions. “To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.”121, 35The maker and the viewer of social documentary photographs, in short, easily become voyeurs, engaged by spectacle, sensitive to design and largely indifferent to the reality of which the photograph purports to provide a faithful representation: “Photographing is essentially an act of non-intervention. [...] Photography does not transmit a pre-existent reality which is already meaningful in itself. When demolition began in 1871, he had taken over thirty. There were high … Sutton’s concern to promote photography as a creative art is demonstrated in his many practical manuals as well as in the Introduction he wrote for Louis-Désiré Blanquet-Evrard, (London: Sampson Low, Son & Co., 1864), translated from French into English under Sutton’s direction. New York : Dover Publications, 1977 (OCoLC)561407039: Named Person: Thomas Annan: Document Type: Book: All Authors / Contributors: Thomas Annan. In 1891, the author of Glasgow and its Environs: A Literary, Commercial and Social Review, Past and Present (London: Stratten and Stratten, 1891) referred in the opening pages to “this large and stately city — the second in the British Empire [...], this great Scottish hive of industry,” whose “wonderfully advanced municipal institutions have often been pointed out as models for the imitation of cities slower in growth, if more aristocratic in reputation.” (p. 7) On the history of Glasgow in the nineteenth century, see Hamish Fraser and Irene Maver, eds., Glasgow, vol. Chaloner [Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968 (1958)], p. 104) While immigrants from other parts of Scotland tended to seek accommodation in newer tenements outside the city center, the totally impoverished Irish settled in their thousands in the cheapest dwellings they could find, that is, in the crowded tenements of the old city. When demolition began in 1871, he had taken over thirty. See also Newton’s complete text, reproduced in Bill Jay and Dana Allen, eds., Critics 1840-1880 (Phoenix (? These places are, generally as regards dirt, damp and decay, such as no person of common humanity to animals would stable his horse in.71, 8By 1856, when Nathaniel Hawthorne, then U. S. Consul in Liverpool, visited the city, he commented on the “wide and regular” streets, the statuary in George Square and the “handsome houses and public edifices of a dark grey stone” in the newer sections, while on a second visit the following year he declared himself “inclined to think the newer portion of Glasgow [...] the stateliest of cities. As urbanization proceeded apace in the nineteenth century and the traditional fabric and appearance of cities underwent drastic transformations, similar commissions were issued in other cities, notably Paris. As Barthes’ argument seems to me relevant to the work of Thomas Annan, I will close this chapter by quoting from it at some length. 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