Annebella has a long-standing research interest is in the history and ethnography of mass photography. Her output in this area has encompassed publications, research papers, posters and exhibition content on the subject of found photos, family albums, vernacular archives, amateur competitions and the photographic industry. This is the focus of her book, Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life (I. B. Tauris, 2015),
Annebella's research in this area began with her MA study of the culture of amateur photography in the interwar period and led into an AHRC-funded doctorate at University of the Arts, London ('Identity, Memory, Compassion and Competition: Mass Participation Photography and Everyday Life', 2006-10), which examined the 55,000 photographs of everyday life generated by the One Day for Life project, 1987, now held in the Mass Observation Archive. Since then, the research has expanded to include examination of popular photography more broadly, from the history of high street photo-processing to the interpretation of popular tropes in practice. This work has been disseminated through local, national and international conference presentations, public talks, research seminars, posters and a wide range of journal articles, book chapters and web essays, including commissioned essays in two major reference works due in 2018, The Blackwell Companion to Photography and The Bloomsbury Handbook of Photographic Studies.
Together with Juliet Baillie, Annebella was the editor of Reconsidering Amateur Photography for EitherAnd, an online publication originally commissioned by the National Media Museum. Selected revised material from this project appears in Photography Reframed: New Visions in Contemporary Photographic Culture (I. B. Tauris, 2018), co-edited by Annebella and Benedict Burbridge.
Through these various projects, Annebella has evolved innovative research methodologies for the interpretation of mass photography and argues for the complex personal significance and social value of a practice frequently dismissed as lacking in intention, ambition and consequence.