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Thomas Annan, Scottish Photographer who documented the slums of Glasgow

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#101 High Street by Thomas Annan

Most Americans think photographing the living conditions of the poor started with the FPA program that was active during the Great Depression from 1935 – 1943. The FPA was responsible for keeping artists and photographers in jobs documenting American life and creating public art during those dark economic times. Many famous works were made under this program including Dorthea Lange’s Migrant Mother.

Photographing the poor actually has much deeper roots. Thomas Annan  (born 1829, died 1887) was a Scottish photographer most known for his series Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow which recorded the slums in Scotland. In 1866, he was commissioned by Glasgow City Improvement Trust to document the substandard living conditions of the poor in the city’s slums.

Close, #46, Saltmarket by Thomas Annan

Thomas Annan also was an accomplished photographer of portraits and landscapes. His most famous subject was David Livingstone, the explorer and medical missionary.

David Livingstone photographed by Thomas Annan

He was noted in the respected publications of the British Journal of Photography, and  Photographic News. In 1865, he won an award for “the best landscape in Scotland”  from the Photographic Society of Scotland.

Duchray Valley by Thomas Annan

Thomas Annan’s legacy lives on through the generations in the form of Annan Fine Art Gallery, in the West End of Glasgow.

About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

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