Open Book Publishers logo Open Access logo
  • button
  • button
  • button
GO TO...
book cover

6. The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow

The best-known, most widely-admired, and most problematical of Annan’s architectural photographs make up the collection known as The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow. These photographs were commissioned by the City of Glasgow Improvement Trust, an agency set up to oversee the demolition, authorized by Act of Parliament in 1866, of a section of the old center of the city—in effect, a not insubstantial part of what Glasgow had been in Adam Smith’s day. An informed understanding of this work of Annan’s, which is still subject to divergent interpretations, requires some consideration of the conditions that obtained at the time of its commissioning.

Thanks to expanding trade with the New World and the rapid development of cotton spinning and tobacco processing in the eighteenth century, and of iron foundries, shipbuilding, locomotive building, and the chemical and machine industries in the nineteenth,65 the population of Glasgow had grown from 12,000 at the time of the Treaty of Union with England in 1707, when Daniel Defoe described it as “one of the cleanest, most beautiful, and best built cities in Great Britain,” to 100,000 in 1811 and 300,000 by the mid-1840s, when Engels wrote his Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (Fig. 6:1).

By the end of the nineteenth century, the population had more than doubled to 761,000 and in 1912 it topped the million mark, making it one of the four or five most populous cities in Europe. “Between 1870 and 1914,” in the words of the novelist and journalist Allan Massie, “Glasgow reached its apogee. Whatever its social problems, it was one of the richest and most splendid of European cities.”66

Massive immigration from the Scottish countryside and especially from Ireland was both a condition and a consequence of the city’s rapid industrialization and expansion.67 The result, however, was the transformation of much of the old town—as the better-off residents and then the municipal buildings moved west—into a hugely overcrowded, fetid, dangerous and disease-ridden slum. 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.

There are many harrowing contemporary descriptions of conditions in the slums of Glasgow in the mid-1800s. It is worth quoting from a few of them in order to convey an idea of the problem that prompted the city fathers to seek the authority to purchase and demolish entire streets of the old city.

In a Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Gt. Britain that he presented to the House of Lords in 1842, Edwin Chadwick, Secretary to the Poor Law Commission, wrote that “it appeared to us [himself and his colleague, Dr. Neil Arnott, a Scottish-born and trained surgeon] that both the structural arrangements and the condition of the population in Glasgow was the worst of any we had seen in any part of Great Britain.”69 For his part, Engels quoted from a report in the new monthly periodical The Artizan (October 1843) in his Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, published in the original German in 1845:

The population in 1840 was estimated at 282,000, of whom about 78 percent belong to the working classes, 50,000 being Irish. Glasgow has its fine, airy, healthy quarters, that may vie with those of London and all wealthy cities; but it has others which, in abject wretchedness, exceed the lowest purlieus of St. Giles’ or Whitechapel [. . .]—endless labyrinths of narrow lanes or wynds, into which almost at every step debouche courts or closes formed by old, ill-ventilated, towering houses crumbling to decay, destitute of water and crowded with inhabitants, comprising three or four families (perhaps twenty persons) on each flat, and sometimes each flat let out in lodgings that confine—we dare not say accommodate—from fifteen to twenty persons in a single room. These districts [. . .] may be considered as the fruitful source of those pestilential fevers which thence spread their destructive ravages over the whole of Glasgow.70

Finally, here is Jelinger Symons, an Assistant Commissioner on an official enquiry into the condition of handloom weavers in 1838:

I have seen human degradation in some of its worst phases, both in England and abroad, but I can advisedly say that I did not believe until I visited the wynds of Glasgow, that so large an amount of filth, crime, misery, and disease existed on one spot in any civilized country. [. . .] 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. 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

By 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. 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. It was “in a dense part of the town, and a very old and shabby part, too,” he noted in his diary for May 10th, 1856. “I think the poorer classes of Glasgow excel even those in Liverpool in the bad eminence of filth, uncombed and unwashed children, drunkenness, disorderly deportment, evil smell, and all that makes city poverty disgusting.” On his second visit, his impression had not changed: “The Trongate and the Salt-Market [. . .] were formerly the principal business streets, and, together with High Street, the abode of the rich merchants and other great people of the town. High Street, and, still more, the Salt-Market now swarm with the lower orders to a degree which I have never witnessed elsewhere; so that it is difficult to make one’s way among the sullen and unclean crowd, and not at all pleasant to breathe in the noisomeness of the atmosphere. The children seem to have been unwashed from birth.”72

Inevitably, disease was rampant, epidemics frequent, and crime endemic. 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. Midnight Scenes and Social Photographs, Being Sketches of Life in the Streets, Wynds and Dens of the City (Fig. 6:2) was divided into seven sections, each one describing a night in the slums, from Sunday, supposedly the Lord’s day, until the following Saturday. The author apologized in his Preface for the gruesome picture his book presented of “the condition of the poor, and the classes generally inhabiting the lower depths of society,” but insisted on its honest and unembellished realism. Though “the ‘Photographs’ present a tone painfully dark and gloomy [. . .], they are not creations of the brain, but so far as the writer’s knowledge of the art extends—they are truthful [. . .]; as they occurred, so have they been given.”75

The book’s claim to realism was underscored not only by the use of the common Glasgow dialect among the characters encountered or interviewed by the narrator but, above all, by the photographic metaphor in the title, photographs being still widely considered impartial and objective copies of reality made with no input from the photographer other than his technical skill. The metaphorical function of the term “social photographs” is highlighted by the fact that there are no photographs in the book, its only illustration being a frontispiece engraving by the great caricaturist George Cruikshank which depicts a photographer taking pictures of scenes and situations described in the text (Fig. 6:3).

Local readers might also have come across some lines by the popular Kilmarnock-born and Glasgow-raised poet Alexander Smith (1829-1867), who had spent twelve years working long hours in a Glasgow factory and who in “A Boy’s Poem,” published in 1857, described living conditions in the city’s slums in terms strikingly similar to those of Midnight Scenes:

We crept into a half-forgotten street
Of frail and tumbling houses propt by beams,
And ruined courts which, centuries before,
Rung oft to iron heels,—which palfreys pawed,
As down the mighty steps the Lady came
Bright as the summer morning,—peopled now
By outcasts, sullen men, bold girls who sat
Pounding sand in the sun. The day we came
The windows from which beauty leant and smiled
Were stuffed with rags, or held a withered stick
Whence foul clothes hung to dry. Beneath an arch
Two long-haired women fought; while high above,
Heads thrust through broken panes, two shrill-voiced crones
Scolded each other. Hell-fire burst at night
Through the thin rind of the earth; the place was loud
With drunken strife, hoarse curses; then the cry
Of a lost woman by a ruffian felled
Made the blood stop [. . .]76

Alarmed 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. The Loch Katrine Water Works project described earlier was a significant part of their improvement plan. Then, in 1862, the Glasgow Police Act allowed the municipality to regulate small dwelling places (under 3,000 cubic feet), assess the maximum number of inhabitants permitted in each (on the basis of 300 cubic feet per adult and 150 cubic feet per child), “ticket” the dwelling accordingly with a tinplate disc screwed to the door and have the sanitary police carry out inspections during the night to ensure that the “ticketed” maximum had not been overstepped.77 Apparently this measure was not effective, for it was decided only three years later to proceed to a complete demolition of the dilapidated, overcrowded and filthy tenements as the only effective remedy.

In 1865, Provost John Blackie (a partner with his father in the notable Glasgow publishing firm of Blackie & Son) and the progressive City Architect John Carrick drew up the City of Glasgow Improvements Bill, the purpose of which was to authorize the Town Council to buy up and tear down properties in a designated area. The Bill was passed by Parliament the following year, making Glasgow “the first municipality to take such action on a large scale.” “Indeed,” one scholar writes, “the improvements scheme, embarked on under the City of Glasgow Improvements Act of 1866, was by far the largest and most comprehensive single undertaking of this kind in the nineteenth century.”78 As the area affected was also the oldest part of the city, the members of the City Improvement Trust resolved that, before demolition, photographs should be taken of the streets and their buildings to serve as a record of Old Glasgow. Thomas Annan was commissioned to carry out this assignment.

He began taking his photographs in 1868. When demolition began in 1871, he had taken over thirty. Despite the seemingly straightforward object of the commission, however—to create a record—these best-known of all Annan’s photographic images have since been the topic of lively and continuing discussion and debate. Perhaps the first comprehensive collection of photographs ever made of slum properties, are they an early example of the so-called “social documentary” photograph—“the first major achievement of socially critical photography,” in the words of a modern German scholar?79 Did they appeal to the viewer’s moral conscience in order to bring about an improvement in the slum-dwellers’ lot? Or should they be viewed rather in the context of the esthetic of the “picturesque”—a mid-nineteenth-century anticipation, according to many scholars, of the Pictorialism advocated by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen at the end of the century and in the early decades of the twentieth? Do they or do they not depict the extreme filth and squalor emphasized, as we have seen, by all those who wrote about Glasgow’s slums, and if not, what to make of that fact? Was the photographer, in sum, moved primarily by esthetic considerations—composing a formally interesting photograph—rather than by purely documentary, let alone moral considerations? What, in particular, is the role of the human figures in many of the images? Are they a focus of interest in themselves or are they simply staffage, providing a sense of scale as in landscape paintings and photographs? 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? Critical opinion is divided or ambivalent on all those questions. In those cases where the inhabitants of the slums are distinctly portrayed—sometimes in groups—and must therefore, in view of the required long exposure times, have agreed to pose, how did Annan win their cooperation? Why are some of the scenes of notoriously teeming and horrifically overcrowded buildings shown as pure street architecture, devoid of any human presence? And how was this clearing of the streets accomplished? Was it by persuasion or with help from the city authorities (i.e. the police)? What, in short, was Annan’s relation to the inhabitants of the old closes and streets? Did he view them simply as material for his camera or as forlorn objects of compassion and Christian charity? Or did he regard them, interact with them, and portray them as fellow human beings?

The problem of interpreting the photographs is compounded by two factors. First, Annan’s own taciturnity. In the volumes on the country houses, the old College of Glasgow, and the Loch Katrine Water Works, the texts, as noted earlier, are by others. The photographs in the first two albums of The Old Closes and Streets (1871 and 1878) are unaccompanied by any text at all, other than simple identifying captions. The 1878 album was to have contained “an introductory and descriptive letterpress,” but, in the event, it was put together without the planned text, which, in any case, would again not have been by Annan himself, but by the City Architect, John Carrick, an influential and energetic figure with strong ideas of his own. A volume published posthumously in a limited edition by Annan’s son, James Craig Annan, did contain an introductory text by the local antiquarian and artist William Young, but it dealt mostly with the history of Glasgow and its various quarters and streets and had nothing to say about the photographs themselves, other than that their value “consists in their true presentation or suggestion of the seamy side of the city’s life; in their depicting with absolute faithfulness the gloom and squalor of the slums” and thus affording “a peek into dark and dismal dens unvisited by the great purifying agencies of sun and wind.”80 Whereas Jacob Riis’s photographs—published in the last decade of the nineteenth century in his book How the Other Half Lives and sometimes held to have been anticipated by those of Annan (Figs. 6:4-5)—are used to illustrate an extensive text in which the photographer-journalist himself exposes and denounces the squalid, inhuman conditions of life in the slums of New York, Annan offers no clue as to his own intentions or his own understanding of his work. Unlike those photographers who use text or extended captions to “‘fix’ the image, refusing it the right to vacillate between past and present, ideal and real,” in the words of a scholar of our own time, Annan’s silence, whether deliberate or fortuitous, places the burden of interpretation entirely on the viewer.81

A second difficulty in interpreting Annan’s photographs in The Old Closes and Streets is presented by the different techniques which, over the years, were employed to produce them and the different publics for which they were produced. Though at least some of the prints were probably first issued singly (Glasgow’s Mitchell Library has several in this form, a few with pasted-on title slips), a first folio album, bound in leather, was put together in 1871. This album, of which only four or five copies were produced and which has neither title page nor date, contained 31 albumen prints.82 It was followed soon after, in 1878, by a second album, produced in response to a request from some members of the Improvement Trust that “a copy, in the form of an album, of the series of photographs taken some time ago of the more interesting portions of the City, since, to a great extent, demolished by the operations of the Improvement Scheme, should be furnished to each member of the Trust.” This album, of which some sixty copies were produced in heavy crushed green morocco binding, included nine additional photographs. 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. This was published by the T. & R. Annan Company in a limited edition of 100 copies and by James MacLehose, the University publisher, in an edition of 150 copies.84

Each of these print processes—albumen, carbon, photogravure—has its own particular characteristics.85 To what degree do the changes resulting from the different processes both reflect and create varying expectations and responses on the part of viewers? Thus, for example, the “phantoms” or “blurred ghosts” caused by persons or objects having moved during the relatively long exposure time—and regarded by some viewers as contributing to the overall effect of the earlier albumen prints86—are removed from the photogravure edition of 1900. Thomas Annan himself added clouds to the carbon prints, which in general are more clearly outlined than the albumen prints and, correspondingly, lack some of the tonal qualities of the latter. The order and even the selection of the plates also vary from one edition to another. Does that have an effect on the viewer’s reading of the series? How does history itself—the completely changed contexts in which the images have been encountered by members of the Improvement Trust in the 1870s, by readers of James Craig Annan’s publication of 1900, by readers of the 1977 Dover Publications re-edition of the photogravure version and by twenty-first-century viewers of any of these—affect the way in which the images are experienced? The diminished, post-industrial, finance-, culture-, and tourism-oriented Glasgow of the twenty-first century, with its trendy bars and restaurants and lively pop music scene, is a very different place from the nineteenth-century “Second City of the Empire.” As Ian Spring has pointed out,

Today, in Glasgow shops you can purchase Annan’s photograph of No. 65 High Street in postcard form.[. . .] The reverse gives some details under the heading “Art Cards.” One generation’s misery incarnate becomes another’s consumable style. Today, shop windows are stocked with Annan prints framed for domestic consumption and countless city centre pubs and restaurants mount Glasgow’s old streets and closes on their walls.87

I 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. First, should these striking photographs be seen as predominantly “documentary” or as predominantly “picturesque”? And second, is social documentary photography, as has sometimes been alleged, ultimately voyeuristic and exploitative, an act of aggression toward its “subjects”?

First then, “social documentary” or “picturesque”? Several critics have pointed out that the decision to demolish had already been taken before Annan moved in with his camera, and that his assignment was simply to record a significant piece of the city’s past that was about to be destroyed.88 Contrary to what is often argued or simply assumed,89 it is thus unlikely, these critics hold, that he “used his camera as a social weapon,” photographing the old closes and streets of Glasgow in order to draw attention to urban blight and promote action to correct it. In this respect, therefore, his work should probably not be seen as expressing the same concerns that animated Jacob Riis in his celebrated How the Other Half Lives (1890).90 It is often pointed out that, unlike Riis, Annan did not photograph the interior of the slum dwellings and thus did not show the actual living conditions of the poor. The text accompanying Annan’s 1868 album of Photographs of Glasgow would also seem to lend support to the view that the photographer’s main objective in The Old Closes and Streets was not to expose and denounce a social evil but to make a record of what was about to vanish from view. “The High Street is the back-bone of the ancient city of St. Mungo,” the author of the text, the liberally-minded Rev. A.G. Forbes, wrote. “But the old look is fast disappearing even here.” Similarly, “the Saltmarket is not as it was, the domicile of provosts, bailies, and other civic dignitaries. [. . .] Eighty years ago it was otherwise. [. . .] 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. “One is sorry to lose the ancient landmarks.” Nevertheless, “if ventilation and health, material and moral, be the result, no matter.”91

If not motivated by social criticism, should Annan’s work then be seen as closer in spirit and intent, albeit more modest in scale, to that of certain French contemporaries, such as the photographers of the Missions héliographiques (Baldus, Bayard, Le Gray, Le Secq, Mestral), who had been charged by the Commission des monuments historiques with making a photographic record of all the country’s historic monuments, with special attention to those that were decayed or threatened with demolition; or, closer still, to the work of Charles Marville who, as official photographer for the city of Paris, had been commissioned in 1862 by the city’s Service des travaux historiques to record not only the great sites of the capital and the grandiose achievements of Haussmann, but also old streets and buildings, particularly those slated for demolition? (Figs. 5:15-16).92

This 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. Moreover, Carrick’s plans for the further development and reconstruction of the city incorporated wide and straight thoroughfares in the Haussmann style.93 As Susan Sontag noted in her seminal work On Photography 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.”94

With all these officially appointed photographers, no less than with the artists employed by Taylor and Nodier in their multi-volume Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France (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.95 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 Picturesque ‘Bits’ from Old Edinburgh. As a modern scholar has put it, “the picturesque became generalized to that which is multifarious, irregular, unevenly lit, worn, and strange. 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.

The vogue of the “picturesque,” in short, reinforced the efforts of some photographers to win respect for photography as an art, rather than a merely utilitarian instrument for accurately recording reality—“an essentially indexed medium, [. . .] a direct light imprint on the model of the fingerprint or the death mask,” as one contemporary scholar has put it97—and for themselves as artists, more alert, in fact, than many academically trained painters to objects of unsuspected beauty and suggestiveness, rather than simply skilled technicians.98 As suggested earlier, supporters of the calotype, as opposed to the more precise and detailed daguerreotype, had used the argument that Talbot’s process left more room than Daguerre’s for choice and decision-making on the part of the photographer. In The Pencil of Nature (1844) Talbot himself associated his work with that of the Dutch school of painters, among whom artistic sensitivity and technique were generally considered to have been combined with faithful representation of the real. “A painter’s eye,” Talbot wrote, “will often be arrested where ordinary people see nothing remarkable. A casual gleam of sunshine or a shadow thrown across his path, a time-withered oak, or a moss-covered stone may awaken a train of thoughts and feeling, and picturesque imaginings.”99 Many of Talbot’s own photographs, such as “The Open Door” and “The Haystack,” exemplify this approach (Figs. 1:1-2). In 1860, Thomas Sutton, the editor of Photographic Notes, the journal of the Photographic Society of Scotland and the Manchester Photographic Society, was more specific: “Although photography is certainly a mechanical means of representing nature, yet, when we compare a really fine photograph with an ordinary mechanical view, we are compelled to admit that it exhibits mind, and appreciation of the beautiful and skill of selection and treatment of the subject on the part of the photographer, to a degree that constitute him an artist in a high sense of the word.”100

Photographers were even urged sometimes to model themselves on painters—though this strategy did not necessarily coincide with cultivation of the picturesque. “There will be perhaps photograph Raphaels, photograph Titians,” The Photographic Journal, the organ of the Royal Photographic Society, predicted in 1857. The successful Swedish-born photographer Oscar Rejlander did indeed produce a photographic version (“The Virgin in Prayer” [1858-60]) of a mid-seventeenth-century Madonna by Sassoferrato, now in in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and an elaborate photographic allegory (“Two Ways of Life” [1857]) inspired by Raphael’s “School of Athens” (Figs. 6:6-7).

The portrait painter Sir William Newton, who also happened to be a vice-president of the Royal Photographic Society in the 1850s, urged photographers to seek artistic effects rather than a mere copy of nature. “The whole subject might be a little out of focus,” he suggested, “thereby giving a greater breadth of effect, and consequently more suggestive of the true character of Nature.”101

The view of photography as an art that must be guided by concerns similar to those of the painter was even more vigorously defended three decades later by Frank Sutcliffe, the admired photographer of the fishing town of Whitby and its inhabitants and an early member of the Linked Ring, the British group advocating what was shortly afterwards defined as Pictorialism: “A picture must have a pattern. And it is this pattern most of them lack. It is this pattern, or pleasing combination of line and mass, that the artist considers of greater importance than any historical facts which may be found in his subject, and he does not hesitate to sacrifice the latter to the former.”102 In short, the photograph is not simply a mechanical copy of the real: it can be manipulated, and therein lies its claim to be art. In France, in an 1851 article in La Lumière, the earliest of all photographic journals, Francis Wey explained that, unlike the daguerreotype, the calotype “works with masses, disdaining detail as a gifted master painter does [. . .] and choosing to emphasize formal qualities in one place and tonal qualities in another.” That is why “the taste of the individual photographer can be discerned clearly enough in his work for the experienced amateur, on seeing a photograph produced by the paper process, to be able to identify the photographer that made it.”103

Thomas Annan did not often express himself on the question whether photography is an art (though his better-known son James Craig Annan, another early member of the Linked Ring, asserted unequivocally that it is104). Still, in at least one case—a view of the Palace of Linlithgow—there is material evidence that he sketched the scene he wanted to photograph and made notes to himself about lighting conditions and the best times of day for camera work.105 Even from a technical point of view, photographing in the dark closes of Glasgow must have required close attention to the conditions of light at different times of day and, in view of the long exposure times needed, to controlling the movement of people in order to avoid excessive blurring. In addition, the wet collodion process made necessary by the generally poor light conditions required a great deal of equipment, considerable preparation, and further work immediately after the pictures had been taken. The pictures were thus necessarily composed with care, and while it was not Annan’s brief to depict the universally denounced squalor of the old closes and streets but only the closes and streets themselves, it is striking that, in the view of many (though by no means all) commentators, the photographs do not, on the whole, convey a deeply disturbing sense of squalor or degradation (with some notable exceptions, such as “Closes 97 and 103 Saltmarket”)106 (Fig. 6:8).

The alleys are dark and rundown, to be sure, but not especially dirty. On the contrary, there are few signs of refuse in them and the lines of washing hung out over them in many of the pictures—“Annan’s slumdwellers are perplexingly fastidious launderers of linen,” one scholar remarks107—not only suggest a concern with cleanliness on the part of the inhabitants but provide a formally effective horizontal complement to the high, somber and close-packed verticals of the walls. An occasional silvery rivulet running down a cobbled alleyway might have been the effluent deplored by sanitary inspectors rather than simply rain water, but it also functions to enliven the scene and guide the eye. Similarly, isolated figures in some of the photographs appear, with a few exceptions, fairly clean and decently, if not well, clothed (albeit the children are usually barefoot), bearing little resemblance to the wretched creatures described in the written reports on the slums. Often they seem strategically placed to draw the eye along in the direction desired by the photographer; in other cases, they are grouped or framed in such a way as to be themselves part of the formal design of the photograph—again bearing little resemblance to the destitute and degraded denizens of the published reports (Figs. 6:9-18).

In the words of the scholar who wrote the Introduction to the 1977 Dover Publications re-edition of The Old Closes and Streets, “Annan’s approach was not what we would call straight.” In the 1878 carbon prints, “he added clouds, which brighten the skies over Glasgow’s slums, and he whitened the wash on the line. He did this for pictorial effect, for nice balance.”108 Among Annan’s own contemporaries, the Rev. A.G. Forbes, author of the texts accompanying Photographs of Glasgow (1868), refers to him repeatedly as “our artist,”109 while, as noted earlier in chapter 4, a reviewer of a Photographic Society show in London described Annan’s landscapes as of such “high artistic merit” that their creator “must rank amongst our first class artists.” As early as 1864, in a letter to the Photographic Society of Scotland on the occasion of his having been awarded the Society’s silver medal for a photograph of Dumbarton Castle, Annan himself professed that “my constant aim is to make my Photographs like Pictures and I am happy to think that my efforts are not altogether unsuccessful.” Two decades later, near the end of his life, in May 1884, he gave a lecture at a meeting of the Photographic Society in Edinburgh on the topic “Art in Photo Landscapes.”110 It is not implausible, in short, to argue that formal design was a concern of Annan’s.111

The formal, esthetic impact of Annan’s photographs of the old closes and streets has aroused puzzlement and even discomfort in some of the best informed and most experienced students of his work. Sara Stevenson, for instance, in the handsome brochure on Annan put out by the National Galleries of Scotland in its “Scottish Masters” series, notes that

The photographs are undeniably beautiful. Annan used his knowledge and control of the collodion process to achieve the same kind of subtle light and detail that appear in his landscape photographs. He must have explored the wynds at length, waiting for the best time of day, when light crept in. He used the trickling gutters to make elegant lines of light. 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. Annan may even have been thinking of Turner while taking these pictures, considering Turner’s remark about the need to paint in the clothes hung by bargemen on their boats’ shrouds ‘to break the perpendicular and unpleasantly straight lines.’ [. . .] Seeing beauty and poetry in photographs of slums makes us rightly uneasy and doubtful about the photographer—if the photographs are beautiful can he have been concerned about the squalor? [. . .] It is a disconcerting fact that pollution can be beautiful. Iridescent bubbles on a stream are magical until they are recognized as industrial effluent and become ugly.112

Ray McKenzie, the author of several illuminating essays on Annan, writing of the forty images of slum properties gathered in the 1878 album, acknowledges that “the tension between their function as documents and their status as aesthetic objects is [. . .] problematic. It is impossible to look at a photograph such as Close, No. 80 High Street without an uncomfortable sense of the ambiguity of our own position as contemporary observers; we are simultaneously appalled by what it tells us about a human situation and thrilled by its uniquely seductive qualities as a photographic print.” (Fig. 6:15)113 The late Margaret Harker considered that “the strange and lasting fascination of these photographs” is in fact due to the “curious combination between the picturesque and the sordid in Annan’s interpretation of the Glasgow slums.”114 The ten-word e-mail reaction of a friend, the architect and photographer Alan Chimacoff, when I introduced him to The Old Closes and Streets, is by no means untypical: “Beautiful stuff . . . if that sort of stuff can be beautiful.”115

In fact, Annan’s concern with form and the “restraint” with which, in the view of some scholars,116 he represented the filthy, degraded, violent reality of the old closes (as described by the reformers, missionaries and sanitary inspectors who dared venture into them) may well go hand in hand with a distinctive vision of the slum-dwellers themselves. Sometimes they do seem to be little more than staffage—of a piece with and virtually inseparable from the texture of the stone walls they are pressed against or enclosed by. But sometimes, as in “28 Saltmarket,” “118 High Street” and “46 Saltmarket” (Figs. 6:16-18)—the last of these curiously not included by James Craig Annan in his 1900 photogravure edition—they have a simple dignity that is rarely evoked in the written reports of missionaries and reformers. The primary intent of Annan’s photographs may well not have been—not, at least, in the first instance—that of a social reformer like Riis, namely to awaken the compassion of comfortably-off, middle-class viewers with a moral conscience for the victims of greedy landlords, or horror and indignation at the conditions in which the poor are obliged to live, or uneasiness and fear in the face of a threateningly alien environment.117 Nor, in contrast to the engravings based on daguerreotypes by Richard Beard in Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1851) (Figs. 6:19-20) or even to the photographs by fellow-Scot John Thomson in his much admired Street Life in London (1878) (Figs. 1:24-25), does Annan exploit and update the traditional “Cries of London” genre: stereotypes of street people or “nomades,” as Thomson describes them, such as the costermonger, the pie-man, the flower-seller, the sweep, the shoe-black, the rat-catcher, the “Jew old-clothes man”—all of whom, as Thomas Prasch has pointed out, represent “marginal” and “static forms of labor largely unchanged by the forces of industrial society.”118

First and foremost, it seems to me, Annan’s photographs ask us as viewers to respect the people in them, to recognize them, not as “the poor,” or “street people,” or “arabs”—the term by which the homeless and uprooted or the denizens of city slums were often referred to, as though to emphasize that they were virtually of a different “race” from “us”—but simply as human beings.119 Annan’s people, both singly and in groups are not “other” (to be pitied or assisted or feared) as in some “social documentary” photographs of the time. In the group portraits especially, the figures represented seem to assert their humanity, overwhelmed, hemmed in and rendered fragile as it is by the somber and oppressive mass of their stony environment.120 Given that the unavoidably long exposure times required his human subjects to remain absolutely still for several minutes, Annan clearly had to win their goodwill and co-operation. That he apparently did so (albeit with understandably less success in the case of young children) would suggest that, instead of regarding him with suspicion, as they often looked on sanitary inspectors, advocates of church attendance and abstention from alcoholic drinks, and similarly well-meaning but interfering outsiders, the inhabitants of the closes (most of them probably poor Irish immigrants) may have seen him as a friendly figure and been pleased or flattered to be selected for portrayal in his photographs—unless, of course, though this seems unlikely, they were rewarded for their co-operation. It may even be that some of them—like the centrally positioned, self-assured male figures, especially the young boy with arms akimbo, looking directly, almost defiantly, at the camera in “Close, no. 46 Saltmarket”—took advantage of the opportunity provided by the photographer to assert themselves and challenge the viewer to acknowledge them, instead of playing only a passive role as the photographer’s “subjects,” in the full sense of that word. It may be, in other words, that there was a reciprocal relationship between the photographer and his “subjects,” that they had their motives in posing for him just as he had his reasons for having them pose (Fig. 6:18).

Nevertheless—and this is the second of the two issues I would like to explore briefly—a major criticism remains to be considered, one that goes to the heart of any photography that presents itself as having a social documentary intent while at the same time pursuing formal and compositional goals, and that thus necessarily affects Annan’s work in some measure. Hinted at in Ian Spring’s reference to the vogue of Annan’s photographs of the old closes in twenty-first-century, post-industrial Glasgow, this issue is raised and discussed by Susan Sontag in her now classic essays on photography. “There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera,” Sontag asserts. “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

The 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. [. . .] The person who intervenes cannot record, the person who is recording cannot intervene.” Even though “an event known through photographs certainly becomes more real than it would have been if one had never seen the photographs,” in the end “images transfix. Images anaesthetize. [. . .] Aesthetic distance seems built into the very experience of looking at photographs, if not right away, then certainly with the passage of time.”122 Writing in the midst of a wave of reaction against the Pictorialism of Alfred Stieglitz and his successors, Sontag cites Walter Benjamin on photography’s estheticizing tendency: “The camera is now incapable of photographing a tenement or a rubbish heap without transfiguring it, not to mention a river dam or electric cable factory; in front of these photography can only say ‘how beautiful’ [. . .] It has succeeded in turning abject poverty itself, by handling it in a modish, technically perfect way, into an object of enjoyment.”123 As a result, according to Sontag, “whatever the moral claims made on behalf of photography, its main effect is to convert the world into a department store or museum-without-walls in which every subject is depreciated into an article of consumption, promoted into an item for aesthetic appreciation.”124

Among many examples of “documentary” photographs that have ceased to function as social criticism or even primarily as historical records and now function almost exclusively as art—or that were in fact always positioned astride the boundary separating documentation and art—one could cite the beautifully composed photographs of exploitative child labour by Lewis Hine in the early years of the twentieth century, some of the photographs taken by Dr. Barnardo and his missionaries in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and the work of Depression-era photographers such as Dorothea Lange (Figs. 6:21-22).

An earlier, disturbing example of the “voyeuristic” character of seemingly social documentary photography is offered by Captain Willoughby Wallace Hooper’s photographs of victims of the 1876-1879 Madras famine. A keen photographer who had contributed to the 468 images in an eight-volume work inspired by Lord Canning, Governor-General of India from 1856 to 1862 (The People of India, ed. John Forbes Watson and John William Kaye, London, 1868-1875), Captain Hooper took a number of powerful and horrifying but carefully-composed photographs of skeletal victims of the famine (Fig. 6:23).

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.”125 Whether they were ever primarily intended to provoke action in favor of the victims remains moot. Hooper is said to have had famine-stricken families brought to him to be photographed and to have then sent them away without feeding them. In addition, during the Third Burmese War (1885) he photographed prisoners he himself had ordered to be executed at the precise moment of their execution, planning to have the images produced commercially and offered for sale. It appears almost certain, in short, that there was little, if any, connection for this seemingly social documentary photographer between viewing and acting, recording and intervening.126 Indeed, Hooper may well have come disturbingly close to the situation imagined by Guillaume Apollinaire in his short story, “Un beau film” of 1901, and by the French director Bertrand Tavernier in his mordant movie, “La Mort en direct,” of 1980 (“shot,” as it happens, in Glasgow), in which the desire to photograph real scenes of extreme human violence or anguish leads the artist wielding a camera to provoke such scenes for the purpose of recording them. In Apollinaire’s story, the film-maker takes care to assure the public that the violent murder scene he set up and then captured on film was not simply staged but really took place. The public responds enthusiastically and the film becomes a huge financial success.127

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. “The insistence that the ordered world of business-as-usual take account of [. . .] a reality newly elevated into consideration simply by being photographed and thus exemplified and made concrete,” Rosler notes, writing from what appears to be a Marxist or Benjaminian perspective, is not accompanied by any analysis of how the situation represented came about. “The meliorism of Riis, Lewis Hine, and others involved in social-work propagandizing argued [. . .] for the rectification of wrongs. It did not perceive these wrongs as fundamental to the social system that tolerated them. The assumption that they were tolerated rather than bred marks a basic fallacy of social work. [ . . .] Documentary photography has been much more comfortable in the company of moralism than wedded to a rhetoric or program of revolutionary politics.” Ultimately, “the exposé, the compassion and outrage of documentary fueled by the dedication to reform has shaded over into combinations of exoticism, tourism, voyeurism . . .”128

For his part, John Tagg, who acknowledges his indebtedness to Michel Foucault, sees “the insatiable appropriations of the camera” as one of the ways in which a power relationship is manifested and maintained.

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’ [. . .]. Photography as such has no identity. [. . .] Its nature as a practice depends on the institutions and agents which define it and set it to work. [. . .] Photography does not transmit a pre-existent reality which is already meaningful in itself. As with any other discursive system, the question we must ask is not, ‘What does this discourse reveal of something else?’ but ‘what does it do: what are its conditions of existence, [. . .] how does it animate meaning rather than discover it?’ [. . .]

Hence the questions:

Why were photographs of working-class subjects, working-class trades, working-class housing, and working-class recreations made in the nineteenth century? By whom? Under what conditions? For what purposes? 129

In Annan’s case, an answer to Professor Tagg’s questions has been provided, at least in some measure I hope, in the course of this essay. Annan’s pictures of the old closes and streets were the product of a commission by the municipal authorities of Glasgow which sought to retain a record of the dilapidated old buildings in the city center, the demolition of which had been authorized at least as much in the interest of the health of the city as a whole as in the interest of the slum-dwellers themselves. (Provision for rehousing the latter was in fact inadequate; the new accommodations were too expensive for many of the displaced, and photographs taken decades later reveal slum conditions hardly improved over those photographed by Annan [Fig. 6:23].)

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. Making, preserving and collecting records, written and visual, was in fact a major preoccupation of the century of revolutionary change. 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.

At the same time, it is certainly the case that Annan’s work—particularly in The Old Closes and Streets—has come to be appreciated by later generations unfamiliar with the concerns of the photographer’s contemporaries not only or mainly for its value as a record of a vanished past or as a testimony to its own time (that is, to the ideas and outlook of the photographer and his contemporaries), but for itself, for its timeless formal and evocative qualities, in other words, as art.130 There is no strong evidence, as we saw, that Thomas Annan deliberately and consciously used his camera “creatively,” to “make art”—as the Pictorialists were to do soon after him—rather than to record empirical reality. But as a landscape and portrait photographer, an experienced and much admired photographer of paintings, a good friend of several painters and an engraver of paintings before he took up photography, he almost inevitably had the painter’s approach to landscapes, cityscapes and portraits in mind when making his photographs. As he himself declared in his letter to the Photographic Society of Scotland, quoted earlier: “My constant aim is to make my Photographs like Pictures.”

Toward the end of the essay “Photographic Evangels” in her On Photography, Susan Sontag defines photography as a medium, like language, rather than an art form:

Although photography generates works that can be called art—it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives esthetic pleasure—photography is not, to begin with an art form at all. Like language it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. Out of photography one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget’s Paris.131

If Sontag’s view of photography as comparable to language has some merit, it may be useful to pursue it further. A verbal text does not have to be defined solely by its ostensible genre or function: some historical or biographical narratives, some works of political or economic theory or of philosophy are also, by common consent, great works of literature. One thinks immediately of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Michelet’s Histoire de France, Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws or Nietzsche’s Gay Science, not to mention, in antiquity, Plutarch, Herodotus or Tacitus. In similar fashion, photographs may fulfil one or more functions of the medium. Roman Jakobson’s six communication functions of the speech act would seem to apply equally to photography: “referential” (emphasis on the informational content of the message), “aesthetic or poetic” (emphasis on the message itself), “emotive or expressive” (emphasis on the sender and her or his feelings), “conative or vocative” (emphasis on persuading or arousing a response in the receiver or addressee), “phatic” (emphasis on the channel of communication) and “metalingual” (emphasis on the shared code of communication, “self-referential”).132 And in photography, as in any speech act or verbal text, while the emphasis may fall or be perceived to fall by the viewer, as by the listener or reader, on one or another of these functions, the others are not thereby abolished.

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. Different viewers at different times may focus on the information the photographs provide, their formal characteristics, the mood they manifest or seek to evoke, or the lesson they urge on us, and they may judge Annan to have himself emphasized one or another of these functions. The strength of Annan’s work may well lie precisely in its ability to stimulate a variety of different readings and responses corresponding to the function that the viewer chooses to perceive as dominant.133

Nevertheless, as Roland Barthes has powerfully argued, the referential function in photography—where the referent, unlike the content of Jakobson’s verbal message, is a particular, concrete object—is fundamental in a way that distinguishes photography from painting or discourse. 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. “What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once,” Barthes writes. “The Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially. [. . .] It is the absolute Particular.”134

Photography’s Referent is not the same as the referent of other systems of representation. I call “photographic referent” not the optionally real thing to which an image or a sign refers but the necessarily real thing which has been placed before the lens, without which there would be no photograph. Painting can feign reality without having seen it. Discourse combines signs which have referents, of course, but these referents can be and are most often “chimeras.” Contrary to these imitations, in Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there. There is a superimposition here: of reality and the past. And since this constraint exists only for Photography, we must consider it, by reduction, as the very essence, the noeme of Photography. What I intentionalize in a photograph [. . .] is neither Art nor Communication, it is Reference, which is the founding order of Photography. [. . .]

In the Photograph, what I posit is not only the absence of the object; it is also, by one and the same movement, on equal terms, the fact that this object has indeed existed and that it has been there where I see it.135

6:1 David Octavius Hill, “Opening of the Glasgow and Garnkirk Railway in 1831” with a view of the Tennant chemical works, St. Rollox. Lithograph after an original painting, from D. O. Hill, Views of the Opening of the Glasgow and Garnkirk Railway (Edinburgh: Alex Hill, 1832). ©CSG CIC Glasgow Museums and Libraries Collection: The Mitchell Library, Special Collections.

6:2 Shadow [Alexander Brown], Midnight Scenes and Social Photographs being Sketches of Life in the Streets, Wynds and Dens of the City (Glasgow: Thomas Murray, 1858). Cover design. Division of Rare Books, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:3 George Cruickshank, from Midnight Scenes and Social Photographs. Frontispiece. Division of Rare Books. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

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. Wikimedia.

6:5 Jacob Riis, “Mullen’s Alley, Cherry Hill.” 1888. Museum Syndicate.

6:6 O.G. Rejlander, Swedish/English, 1813-1875, No title (The Virgin in Prayer). Ca.1858-60. National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne. Purchased 2002.

6:7 Sassoferrato, “The Virgin in Prayer.” 1638-1652. Wikimedia.

6:8 Thomas Annan, “Closes, Nos. 97 and 103 Saltmarket,” from the album Glasgow Improvements Act 1866. Photographs of Streets, Closes, &c. Taken 1866-71, Plate 28. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:9 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 93 High Street,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 9. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:10 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 75 High Street,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 7. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:11 Thomas Annan, “Old Vennel off High Street,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 14. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:12 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 37 High Street,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 5. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:13 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 29 Gallowgate,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 18. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:14 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 128 Saltmarket,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 24. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:15 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 80 High Street,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 13. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:16 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 28 Saltmarket,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 21. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:17 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 118 High Street,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 15. Reproduced from the photogravure edition of 1900, Old Closes and Streets: A Series of Photogravures 1868-1899 (Glasgow: T. & R. Annan & Sons, 1900), Plate 6. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

6:18 Thomas Annan, “Close, No. 46 Saltmarket,” from Glasgow Improvements Act 1866, Plate 22. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

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. 1, facing p. 12. Princeton University Library.

6:20 “The Jew Old-Clothes Man.” Engraving of daguerreotype photograph by Richard Beard in Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, vol. 2, facing p. 118.

6:21 Lewis Hine, “Luigi, 6-years-old newsboy-beggar, Sacramento, California.” 1915. Gelatin silver print. Wikimedia.

6:22 Lewis Hine, “Child-laborer.” 1908. Digital file from original glass negative. Wikimedia.

6:23 Colonel William Willoughby Hooper, “Victims of the Madras Famine.” 1876. Albumen print. Museum Syndicate.

6:24 Glasgow Sanitary Department, “Roslin Place and Burnside Street near Garscube Road in Cowcaddens.” 1920s. Photograph reproduced by courtesy of Glasgow Museums Collection.