Monday, 26 June 2017

Ethereal





We're rushed off our feet at the moment which is nothing new.  We've been printing and framing new and existing work and preparing our Gallery for our new exhibition and the Festival Arts & Vigne, an annual event in Chatillon in August.

Predictably, the Gallery is spreading into the house where we have some large and convenient walls which will be very necessary at the end of this week when we wrap up our current exhibition in Chabeuil.  

Our garden here is being neglected but it still contributes a lot of pleasure
and, at the moment, a lot of soft fruit despite our vicious Spring
frosts this year.  The garden has also contributed some splendid Tulip seed
heads which Georgina dried a few years ago and has now transformed into a new and ethereal print.  Perhaps the beginning of yet another new series.




 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Our Latest Exhibition in our Gallery at La Conche


Summer has arrived with a vengeance and we have been busy printing and
framing some of our less familiar work.  And now we are as ready as
we ever will be and have some great pictures on show in our
Gallery de La Conche -  Summer Exhibition 2017.

Monday, 12 June 2017

An Evening to Remember: 4th June

Having passed the last few weeks in a frenzy of preparation  -  printing, framing, experimenting and editing our work for upcoming exhibitions  -  we didn't seem to have time for anything else.  The grass in the garden was about 50cm tall and was in need of urgent attention and some of it still is.

However, a few months ago we received a routine e-mail announcing local concerts which, though some of them seemed tempting, had always fallen foul of the 'always too busy' syndrome.  That's a pity.  We know it's a pity.  Perhaps
it's a modern disease to become involved with so much that one is always too busy.  Or perhaps this is a reflection of those wonderful days when some people, we believe, had staff.  Or at least you could employ somebody locally for a reasonable hourly wage without the fear of vicious official retribution.  Anyway, that's the way it is.  We had already persuaded ourselves that the Wednesday afternoon walks we take with the local association - Fleurs & Fontaines - which keeps open the walking paths around here and plants up the village as if it were their own garden - were more or less sacrosanct.  How much more time can one find?

The Evening to Remember took place on 4th June but then of course we've been too busy to even write anything down.  We need music and we've built up a quite impressive collection of CDs and DVDs, particularly of opera, and had settled for canned music at home as, after all, we do live in La France Profonde, several hours away from the nearest opera house and, in other respects, worlds away.  And, of course, we don't think we're alone in having become quite choosy about what we listen to, perhaps even slightly snobbish.  Standards of recorded music are so high today.

But when the name of Gabriel Garrido appeared on the routine e-mail coupled with Purcell's Dido & Aeneas and, to boot, the performance would be in a chapel just over the hill from here at Recoubeau, we had to go.  And we were right.  It was a perfectly blissful evening.

The chapel is quite small and a creaky stage had been added with a curtain at the back and that was about it.  That was enough.  Dido is an intimate opera and depends for its impact on a certain intimacy with the performers as what it lacks in profundity it makes up for many times over in every day human emotions, communicated to the audience, any audience.  We were particularly fortunate that our early booking gave us two of the best seats in the house.

Gabriel Garrido, Conductor/Director, had recreated a partially preserved Prologue composed by Purcell and he used other familiar Purcell music to add a certain amount of length and weight to the performance.  Indeed, during the performance Mr. Garrido added some delightful touches of his own including a very clever storm interlude partially enacted by the musicians with astonishing 'creaking boat' sound effects.  Other additional pleasures were guitar solos written for Daniel Morais (who was also playing the Theorbe) in the style of Purcell.

The Prologue was lovely setting the scene for the opera and we were not to be disappointed.  Isabelle Fallot makes a lovely Dido, looking and sounding in every way the part and bringing across the emotions to the audience with a conviction that one is not often lucky enough to experience.  Vincent Billier, Aeneas and her real life husband, with his resonant Base Baritone and his total involvement in the part filled the chapel with sound and emotion.  Marie-Laure Coenjaerts as Belinda, sang wonderfully and, again, put across her part with an intimacy so rare and simply not available from our canned music.  Katarina Vukadinovic, as the Enchantress, with her huge contralto, seemed to threaten the structure and put across more than just voice power.

There were no disappointments.  All performers were tremendous.  No less the musicians than the singers.  And Pavel Amilcar, the leader of the 8-strong orchestra was impressive both in his playing, his part in the direction and, in many ways, as an organiser of the event.

The opera is short but just right.  The quality of the performance, the singing and the playing were of the first order by any standards.  And there was hardly a dry eye in the house.  For critical anglophones, the performance was also a delight because of the impeccable English and outstanding diction of and understanding by the singers.

It was one of those rare events in life that uplift the spirit and reassure us that, even at the worst of times, life is definitely worth living and that culture and music are at the centre of our humanity  -  to be ignored, under-funded or derided at our peril.  We will be taking more notice of upcoming events in future.  Canned music, to some degree, protects us from one of the most alarming realities of our culture.  As the performers get younger and better and better, the audiences seem to be getting older and sparser with no doubt a profusion of hearing-aids to help with their enjoyment.  What can be done about this sad situation.

A personal Thank You to all the organisers and especially Dominique Wostyn
and l'Opera en Famille.
 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Exhibition at Chabeuil 2nd June to 30th June 2017


Yesterday we set up our exhibition at
 in Chabeuil, Drome, France.

The culmination of a lot of work, we took some weary snapshots before
dragging ourselves home, tired but very pleased with how the
exhibition looked.
Our thanks to our hosts, the proprietors of the bookshop Ecriture, who
not only offered us the opportunity of exhibiting in their gallery but also
 played a large part in the hanging of the pictures and
 anticipated and solved a lot of our problems before we realised
that we had them.
In real life, there is a lot to see in the exhibition - these photographs
do it less than justice.

"Cela vaut le d├ętour !"






Sunday, 14 May 2017

Exhibition in June


Last year the proprietors of L'Ecriture, which is a splendid bookshop
in Chabeuil near Valence in the Drome and which has has a very nice gallery,
invited us to exhibit some of our photographs there.
We are setting up the exhibition at the end of May and it will be open from
2nd June to 30 June during the bookshop's opening hours.

The theme is 
"All the World's a Stage"
freely translated as:
"Le Monde Entier est un Theatre" 

We will be exhibiting about 24 prints on canvas and paper framed or
stretched on the theme of trees, nature and intimate landscapes.  And we are
including two prints, each one metre square mounted on Dibond, originating from Georgina's minimalist collection.

We will be hosting a Vernissage at 18h00 on 9th June and hope that all those
who are able to do so will be there.
Below are the two posters that we have prepared.



Monday, 24 April 2017

Old and New



We are also represented by Saatchi Art:


We sometimes go through phases of preferring black & white or very restrained colours and that has been the recent trend for us. 

While walking in a local forest we saw this old oak which gave the
impression of having been carefully shaped, or at least it had
managed to grow in a very pleasing form.


We were looking through some old files and noticed a couple of Papua New Guinea photos, taken at the beginning of the 1970s, because they made us smile.
And they still do.

We were always impressed by the PNG Highlanders not least because of
their fearless acceptance of something new.  The life of a Highlander
at that time required a good deal of self-confidence and resilience which is
probably one of the best reasons for these people having maintained their
agricultural civilisation for around 4,000 years.


When we were in the Highlands the village people still maintained their
healthy and almost pristine culture.  But then, occasionally, an
adornment from the Western ways that were beginning to arrive proved an
irresistible addition to a headdress largely of Bird of Paradise feathers.  One can only speculate as to why this man chose a magazine
portrait of Elizabeth Taylor.

 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Change of Scene



We are also represented by Saatchi Art:

All the pictures on our blogs are available as prints, usually in Limited Editions.

A  long time ago we had a lavishly equipped studio in Edinburgh where we spent
most of our time - day and night - photographing whisky bottles, beer and
booze generally, for advertising and point-of-sale.  The work was difficult, 
demanding and, unfortunately, by the time we had taught ourselves the
essentials, it became tedious.  That was a pity as it was lucrative.  Life seemed
too short to worry, day in and day out, about the light coming through
a whisky bottle or the size and composition of the head on a glass
of beer.

One day a client asked us to supply a set of photographs for a 'Rum' calendar which
was intended for display in pubs along the east coast of Scotland and the north of 
England.  The obvious subject would be girls.  We were delighted to have a change
of scene and the calendar was successful.  As we were also building up a large stock
photography archive, we saw the chance to hire models from time to time to generate
stock pictures for our agencies.

Naturally, many of the pictures of our models were taken in our well-equipped studio.
But we always preferred working outdoors and we took the opportunity to take models
to some of our favourite Scottish locations.  We took models to Argyll and Fife and the
picture above of Carol was taken on Sandwood Bay, one of the finest beaches we have
ever seen, right up in the north west corner of Scotland.  In those days it was two or three
miles' walk from the nearest road.  Now we hear that, alas, you can drive there.  That day, we had the beach to ourselves, miles of it.

A change of scene beckons again and we saw the opportunity to use some of those original shots as an artist uses his sketch book, or nowadays his photographs, as a basis for
a new work.  That's what we have been doing and we are enjoying the work and
pleased with the results.   










Thursday, 2 March 2017

View from the Kitchen Window


We are also represented by Saatchi Art:
On Wednesday afternoons we usually go walking in the hills with a group of
local people, clearing walking tracks which overgrow surprisingly fast
and generally enjoying the amusing company.  Also it keeps us fit as
while most of our companions are in our age group they move like
lightning, up hill and down.
Arriving home in light rain we headed for the kitchen to prepare dinner
and glanced out of the window to see one of the most spectacular
displays of weather since we moved here.  We get interesting light
here on a regular basis but not often anything this spectacular.  It lasted
for only a few moments and, fortunately, we knew where to lay out hands
on a camera.  


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Contrasting Technology


We are also represented by Saatchi Art:




We have a lot of pictures in our archive which we think deserve to see the light of day and we have been working on them to make Fine Art prints.
The question of suitability of various subjects for Fine Art prints is a difficult
one and one of the fascinations with prints is the unlimited range of
opinions from viewers and buyers.  We see a lot of prints that we can not
imagine wanting on our walls.  But then, there are undoubtedly a lot of
potential buyers who can't imagine wanting some of ours on their 
walls either.

Having spent many years photographing technology and huge construction
projects we have a fascination for the inventiveness and sheer chutzpah
of modern engineering. We consider that along with the utility of these structures comes a real beauty and an admiration of their magnificence and their complexity.  Architecture is a recognised and popular source of
inspiration for art, particularly photography.  But we feel that engineering
has largely been left out which seems a pity.

One of our most inspiring and memorable shoots was recording the tow of this
remarkable structure towards the Minch between the west coast of Scotland
and the Outer Hebrides.  There are plenty of superlatives to describe this
structure and we were particularly drawn to the array of six of the world's
largest tugs that towed this errant Greek temple from Loch Kishorn around
the north of Scotland and to its drilling site in the North Sea.



In contrast, when traveling to a work site in Orissa on the east coast of
India, my taxi slowed down behind this bus which was moving at walking
pace through the hot, dense humid atmosphere.  Fortunately and
sensibly no one seemed to be in a hurry.  India has adapted changing
technology in its own peculiar way and Indians, or at least the
population of the sub-continent, seem to have taken our 
'western civilisation' with a pinch of salt.  Perhaps deep down they rather
prefer their own more 'civilised' culture.  Indians remain good humoured
in circumstances that would drive their  'western' counterparts to 
violent distraction.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Taj Mahal



We are also represented by Saatchi Art:



It was quite a while ago when one of us was last in India.  At the
Taj Mahal some of the most interesting views are from across the
River Yamuna at dawn.  To get there on time one needs to take a
boat at about 4 am and wait a while.  I was entertained while I was
waiting by the inevitable arrival of interested locals who seem to be up
at all hours and everywhere at once.  To add to the entertainment
someone found a cobra and, being India, the crowd decided to catch
it and put it somewhere where it would do no harm.  I will always remember
this peculiarly Indian incident.

Here is a re-working of one of those original shots taken in those days on
a Linhof 6cm x 12cm.



 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Another Black & White Fine Art Print



We are also represented by Saatchi Art:

In colour, this was one of our most successful images. 
We have recently been making some Black & White prints with our new
Canon Pro-2000 printer which is reputed to be the best black & white
printer on the market and it has certainly greatly impressed us. 
 We are now offering some new subjects, like this one,  as
Fine Art Black & White prints. 


TGV and Sunflowers

Friday, 10 February 2017

Industry as Art

We are also represented by Saatchi Art: 

https://www.saatchiart.com/gpbowater

https://www.saatchiart.com/peterbowater

 

We spent 25 years of our lives working as industrial photographers.  It
was hard work but immensely rewarding.  To us industry has just as much
visual appeal as the other subjects more normally chosen for works of art.
 Some of the most breathtaking views either of us has ever seen have been
industrial subjects and some of the most interesting details and close-ups
are also industrial.

We have a large collection of industrial work shot all over the world and we are
re-working some of those images as Fine Art prints.  We have looked at the
market and find that there is very little of this subject available, either for
business who want to decorate their offices or engineers, or just plain laymen
like ourselves who enjoy contemplating man-made marvels.  Why should
architects have all the fun?

We are now both represented on SaatchiArt (links above), the latest site will
feature principally our unique Papua New Guinea images along with industry and
some interesting portraits.  At least to start with.

Here are three files now offered as black & white prints and soon to be loaded
onto the new Saatchi Art account.  At the moment, it is mostly Papua New Guinea but please keep an eye on the site and we will continue to load
new images.

Oil production platform. North Sea.






Engineer setting up turbine rotor.




Electricians working in winter on overhead power lines for railway near Datong. China. 

 


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

February is coming . . .



The days are getting longer and after a long particularly cold spell the weather is warmer and damper which is all to the good after our winter drought and freeze.

It's long been clear to us that interesting subjects that make excellent editorial content are not generally suitable to simply enlarge, frame and put on the wall.  Somehow, like the standard 'mountain lake and pine forest with reflection', they pall by the end of the month.  There has to be something more graphic, perhaps more imaginative and more striking about a picture to turn it into a work of art that will live for a long time on a wall without becoming a part of the wallpaper.  Only a few subjects work of course and apart from the new subjects that we shoot with the intention of offering them as Fine Art Prints, there are a lot of images in our archive that we have a lot of fun and a certain amount of nostalgia experimenting with.

We used to go to Spain quite regularly both to work for clients and to shoot our own pictures for our archive as well, of course, for pleasure and those excellent wines.  One of the best aspects of being European is the tangible signs of history that we live amongst.  For those with a sense of history Spain is a goldmine with unspoiled towns and villages and an architectural heritage different from but comparable to the very best you can enjoy elsewhere.

Some years ago we visited Toledo and now we want to go back and have another look.  There is so much in Castile La Mancha but the Consuegra windmills and fortress are one of the most engaging rural scenes in the whole of the country.  It doesn't need a particularly vivid imagination to picture El Greco at his easel in Toledo or Don Quixote and Sancho Panza roaming the Cerro Calderico.


Until about seven years ago we lived in Provence near the medieval village of Seillans in the Haut Var.  The area is full of attractive perched villages built long ago for defence and now mostly given over to tourism and second homes.  The world has changed.  Here is another way of looking at Seillans.



Going back a few years again, we vividly remember one of the coldest days of our lives.  The temperature was not so much of a problem as the arctic wind driving ice crystals into our faces with a chill which took our breath away.  On this flank of The Jocou, which stands between the Isere and the Vercors Dromois, there are some stands of larches which are quite rare in this largely limestone countryside.  Larches look wonderful at any time of the year and these small coppices add a lot to the landscape.




A more recent winter scene, trees again, that we see from our kitchen and terrace, just over the neighbouring field, growing on the banks of the River Bez.  The Bez is a charming and sometimes quite impressive mountain stream/torrent, always audible from the house but somehow an infinitely more pleasing sound than an adjacent autoroute.  Perhaps it's the association of sounds that decides which one is soothing and which is intrusive.  The Bez is definitely soothing and these trees, a pair that has formed a mushroom shape, make a most satisfying view.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Chatillon-en-Diois - The Big Freeze


Whatever your opinion on global warming, no one can deny that there's
something unusual happening.  The summer of 2016 was one of the
hottest ever recorded here and the last few winters have been hardly winters
at all. There have been all sorts of unusual and largely undesirable effects
from these mild winters, especially an invasion of processional caterpillars that
have disfigured pine trees throughout the region.  This particularly nasty bug
is hard to kill.  Perhaps the current winter, with temperatures on our terrace in
the morning of -14C, will damp the ardour of the nasty bugs and plagues that
have proliferated in the milder weather.
At least, that's what we're hoping as there will be a downside, especially
after having recently planted a lot of small trees and shrubs.
Our home village of Chatillon-en-Diois is not easy to photograph which is frustrating given its spectacular location in the landscape at the foot of Glandasse,  a huge rocky buttress at the southern tip of the Vercors Plateau.  I was looking for a view with snow on Glandasse which adds a glow to an already spectacular mountain
and this is the first result.


Friday, 13 January 2017

New Neighbours

To see a much larger collection of our work please click on: www.bowater.fr


Visit our collection on Saatchi Art 


Recently about 200 new neighbours took up residence in the field next door.
Neighbours, as we all know, can be a mixed bunch and we've been threatened with far worse.
This bunch was very welcome particularly as, for a change, we enjoyed their music.  There is something special about the sound of the bells that
sheep, goats and cattle carry in this region.  The bells in
the mountains are a sound of tranquility.
200 good looking woolly neighbours came to eat the remains of the
vegetation on the field and supply some fertiliser which they did quickly
and competently.  
The sole drawback was that they arrived with their
'bodyguards'  -  two enormous Patous or Pyrenean Mountain Dogs which
accompany the flocks hereabouts to protect them from the ever-growing
population of wolves.  We were limited to surreptitious photographs
over the fence as the dogs took a dim view of our interest in their
charges.  And, for obvious reasons, we didn't want to annoy them.
Unfortunately, the sheep didn't stay long but they were a very welcome 
taste of tradition here in La France Profonde and they enhanced the already
magnificent view of Glandasse from our garden.