James Craig Annan was the son of the Glasgow photographer, Thomas Annan. After studying chemistry, he joined the family firm. In 1883 he travelled to Vienna to learn the photogravure process from the inventor, Karl Klic. Working mainly in photogravure and platinum printing, he produced images of great subtlety and variety. He had a particular influence on North American photography through Alfred Stieglitz who exhibited and published his work in New York. He also renewed public interest in the work of Hill and Adamson by producing exquisite photogravures from their calotype negatives. This simple portrait by a close friend suggests an artist who 'did what seemed to be the most beautiful and most natural thing' at any one moment.