Forman Hanna studied pharmacy at the University of Texas in Galveston.
After his first trip to the Hopi Mesas by covered wagon in 1917, Forman Hanna photographed that area as well as the Apache Reservation until about 1940. At one stage in his life Forman Hanna photographed nudes in a small canyon near Globe, AZ. His figures were local girls and women ranging in age from 5 to 25 years old. Seldom did the girls he asked to pose refuse. He was surprised by how professional they were as models, holding any pose he requested for extended periods of time.
The photographer's style can be described as pictorialist, using soft focus, soft contrast and painterly Composition. The subjects Forman Hanna concentrated on were ranching portraits, landscapes, nudes and photographs of Indians in their homes and environment.