Alvin Langdon Coburn
Alvin Langdon Coburn British and American, b. United States, 1882-1966
Born in Boston and later naturalized a British citizen, Alvin Langdon Coburn received his first camera at age eight. Ten years later, encouraged by his cousin -- the idiosyncratic, yet highly talented photographer F. Holland Day-Coburn showed his work in a major London exhibition. In 1902-3 he was a founding member of the Photo-Secession and the Linked Ring, two of the most important photographic organizations of their time. His work in the medium continued at a high level for the next quarter century.
Coburn was influenced not only by Day, but also by painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler, the impressionists, and Japanese woodblock prints, championed by his teacher Arthur Wesley Dow and Boston scholar Ernest Fenellosa. His artistic background allowed him to accept modernism as well. Although a founding member of the Pictorial Photographers of America in 1916 with Gertrude Käsebier and Clarence H. White, the following year Coburn made some of the first abstract photographs as a part of the vorticist movement, through which he became associated with Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound.
Coburn produced a wide range of work, both in subject and style. Technically proficient, he excelled at the gravure process, producing large editions of original prints for portfolios and books. Among his collaborators were Henry James and H. G. Wells. Although Coburn abandoned photography from the mid-1920s to the mid-1950s, his work continued to be influential, and he took up the medium again near the end of his life. T.W.F.
Note: Coburn emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1912 and became a naturalized British citizen in 1932. Coburn was a founding member of the Photo Secession, New York City, in 1902, and of the Pictorial Photographers of America in 1916. Coburn was associated with the Linked Ring in 1903, and the Royal Photographic Society in the United Kingdom. American photographer, became a naturalized British citizen. -Barbara Tannenbaum
Frederick H. Evans
Frederick H. Evans British, 1853-1943
Born in Whitechapel, London, Frederick Evans was the preeminent architectural photographer of his day, known particularly for his views of British cathedrals. He was also known for portraiture, with sitters such as George Bernard Shaw and Aubrey Beardsley.
Originally a London bookseller, Evans retired in 1898 to devote himself full-time to photography. He was a passionate devotee of straight, or pure, photography. His elegant, unaltered platinum prints relied on form and light to probe the spiritual elements of architectural space and to reveal the character and nuance of the subjects of his portraits. Evans, who exhibited his work widely, extended his aesthetic beliefs to the realm of display; he is credited with transforming British exhibition practice -- the crowded Victorian salon giving way to a venue where prints were shown singly and clearly, out of competition with one another.
Alfred Stieglitz was a great admirer of Evans's work, which was published in Camera Work (1903) and shown at the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in New York (1906). A member of the Royal Photographic Society, Evans was named an Honorary Fellow in 1925 and was elected to the Linked Ring in 1900. T.W.F.
J. Craig Annan
J. Craig Annan British, b. Scotland, 1864-1946 J. Craig Annan was the son of Thomas Annan (1829-1887), one of Scotland's important early photographers who was known especially for his documentary work in Glasgow's slums. Thomas Annan was a master of the gravure process and a friend of pioneering photographer David Octavius Hill. Both father and son learned the techniques of photogravure in Vienna from its inventor, Karel Kli . Bringing the process back to Britain, they became photographers and photoengravers to Queen Victoria. Along with his brother John, also a photographer, J. Craig worked at the family's successful printing business, T. & R. Annan and Sons, for some 35 years. Inspired by impressionism, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Japanese prints, Annan embraced pictorialism in his own work and was one of the first to experiment with a hand-held camera. He corresponded with Alfred Stieglitz, sending examples of the work of David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, which led to their publication in Camera Work. He also supplied his own photogravures, as well as those of other British photographers, for inclusion in Stieglitz's magazines. A leading professional portrait photographer, Annan was also known for his outdoor figures and pastoral settings influenced by the Barbizon School. He exhibited widely, including a one-person retrospective at London's Royal Photographic Society. He was a member of the Linked Ring and first president of the International Society of Pictorial Photographers, as well as an active member of many other photographic and cultural organizations. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1924. T.W.F.