Tuesday 20 December 2016

Joyeuses FĂȘtes 2016

We wish everyone a very happy Christmas

Sunday 4 December 2016

Travelling back in time

Three files from the past

The recent long cold mornings and the need to occupy our new
printer have persuaded us to look back into our
archives which is an amusing and usually agreeable pursuit.

We have just printed three atmospheric files and here they are:

Lindisfarne, Holy Island, Northumberland

When we had a studio in Edinburgh in the late 1970s early 1980s we
took a new year's break and drove down to Northumberland for an
excellent meal (those were the days !) and a few days travelling
up and down the coast looking for worthwhile views.  There
are plenty of splendid views in that part of England.
Lindisfarne, late in the afternoon, has to be one of the best views
on that coast or anywhere.  
One of the first Celtic Christian priories founded by Saint Aidan in the 
6th Century, it was here that Saint Cuthbert settled and it was here
that the Lindisfarne Gospels were created.  The site was destroyed
by Viking invaders and a small castle was built on the rock in
15th Century.

Haflidi Halgrimsson playing a Bach cello sonata
In the early 1980s, the cellist and now composer, Haflidi Halgrimsson came 
to our studio in Edinburgh for portfolio photographs.  
While we were engaged in the interminable business of lighting and setting up, he patiently played part of a Bach suite.  The atmosphere in the
studio was never so relaxing. 

Kettle boiling on hot leaf springs. China

For 15 years or so we both worked as peripatetic industrial photographers
all over the world, shooting a wide variety of subjects and usually
working separately.  On this occasion, Georgina drew the short
straw and went to Shenyang in the Liaoning Province of north east China
in the middle of winter.
At the time we both travelled regularly to that part of the world and it
usually seemed to be winter.
Georgina's work was to photograph the production line of a truck spring
manufacturing plant.  She was amused by the kettle which boiled
perpetually on a pile of red hot leaf springs.  This was not a place
to waste heat. 

Is this my "15 Minutes" ?

Finalist 9th Pollux Awards


Visit our Collection on Saatchi Art

We haven't made a habit of entering competitions.  We haven't really had the time.  But in the current competetive world of Fine Art sales recognition
becomes increasingly important.
Georgina entered a selection of her recent work, mostly her minimalist 
approach to trees and landscape, and was selected as a finalist in the 
Fine Art Category of the 9th Pollux Awards. 
We were pleased particularly as there were over 3,000 entries from
28 countries.

Sunday 6 November 2016

A Couple of New Files

Website/Site Internet:www.bowater.fr

A new printer has taken up an unreasonable amount of our time.  Our
faithful 7 year old Canon printer expired, as we had been expecting,
and has now been replaced by the latest, and we hope greatest, 61cm
printer yet.
The prints are beautiful but we find the software an absolute nightmare
and haven't had much time for anything else for a while.  
But we're getting there, albeit slowly.

There hasn't been much new photography despite the wonders of the
Vercors autumn.  But here are a couple of completely unrelated new
files that we have created from existing images.

Chatillon-en-Diois in Autumn  -  one of the best of times

Venice - the most atmospheric of cities - beautiful, fascinating, poignant and fun

Sunday 2 October 2016

Chatillon-en-Diois in Winter

Website/Site Internet:www.bowater.fr

A large proportion of the population of Chatillon thinks of the village as a Summer place.  We think that they are missing a lot as the village and its 
surroundings are at their most magnificent in Autumn, Spring and 
especially Winter.
The views are unsurpassed particularly when Glandasse is partially shrouded in
mist during the day and, as the sun sets, is bathed in an unforgettable
fiery glow.  When capped with snow Glandasse takes
on a magical aura straight out of a fairy tale.
Apart from the views in all directions the village has a special atmosphere in 
Winter.  In the shadow of Piemard, the mornings are soft and relaxing.  In
the afternoon the glancing light of a sun low in the sky remodels the
village and its surroundings and the evenings are often dramatic.

Chemin des Vignes

This is a place where people work, with vineyards organised and densely
planted in contrast with the wild surroundings.  The vineyards
take on a graphic beauty in the snow.  
We always take more photographs than we will have the time to process
but we don't forget them. We often return to them, after a year or so, with
new inspiration and work them into prints.  A few Winters ago we
spent an hour or so amongst the vines and now we have made prints
from a few of the pictures that we took back then.
If you would like to buy one or more of these prints, available in various formats, please contact us or come and see them in our gallery.

 Another snow scene in the Chemin des Vignes,below, has proved to be
one of the favourite local images in our collection.

Sunday 18 September 2016

The Man from Kutubu and the Lai Valley Spirit Man


Website/Site Internet:www.bowater.fr


“Be not affeared, the Isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not:
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That if I then had waked after a long sleep,
Will make me sleep again, and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again”  Caliban

Wm. Shakespeare.  “The Tempest”  Act III, Scene II

Papua New Guinea, even after 45 years, is still very much part of our lives. When a regular visitor to our exhibitions recently ordered portrait prints of two of our favourite PNG characters, photographed in 1972, we were overwhelmed, as usual, by a flood of nostalgia.  We produced two prints on canvas, 57cm sq., mounted on foamboard and we were very pleased with them.

It was not until the 1930s that the outside world discovered that the Highlands of Papua New Guinea were not, as previously thought, an empty and inhospitable range of forested and jungle-clad mountains occupied, if at all, by a few wandering bands of hunter gatherers.  One of the first expeditions to enter what became the Southern Highlands walked north from the Gulf of Papua.

As they began to climb into the high mountains members of the expedition encountered more and more local population.  One morning, from a ridge looking north, the leader saw an astonishing sight.  As the clouds rose from the mountain tops, he saw a large lake, 17 Km long, in a valley densely populated with neat huts and villages and geometrically laid-out gardens stretching as far as the eye could see.  The smoke rising from the huts and the lake reflecting the sky were one of the most glorious sights he had ever seen and this he described as a Garden of Eden.  Lake Kutubu is New Guinea’s largest Highland lake and one of the richest natural environments on earth.  Another early explorer, again taking a northerly route through the Strickland Gorge, suggested that this was one of the most magnificent wildernesses on the planet and that it would remain so unless, of course, oil or gas were discovered in the area.

We photographed the Man from Kutubu in 1972, a visitor to the Lai Valley near Mendi in the Southern Highlands.  His headdress is largely of cassowary quills with parrot feathers and shells traded from the coast.  As the centrepiece, part of the bright label from a tin of fish.  The body painting looks to us like that of a proud warrior.  The brooch by his right ear has a Polynesian look about it.

Apart from subsistence gardening, the people from Kutubu were trading intermediaries who carried goods that they received from the Papuan coast and delivered them to the Highlands.  At the discovery of the the vast Highland valleys and their populations, much was made of their warlike natures and the precarity of their lives.  True enough but, when one considers the warlike follies of our own civilisation, the early discoverers’ concerns could have more to do with easing their consciences than with their deeply held convictions.  In fact, the Highlanders’ 4000 year old civilisation was one of the four independent agricultural cultures and one of the first exploiters of forestry.

Perhaps unfortunately for the Highlanders and catastrophically for their culture, there was gold to be found in their rivers and streams and now oil and gas have, indeed, been discovered.  Kutubu has a refinery and the lake and the people  have suffered from the inevitable consequences of such developments.


We were fortunate to live in Mendi in the Southern Highlands at a time when the local culture was still alive and well.  A few miles from Mendi by a very bumpy track we could drive to the Lai Valley where the culture was almost completely unchanged.  The first government employee had moved into the valley only a few years before and lived in a house that was only a small step up from the other village houses.  When there was a traditional meeting or celebration all was very much as it would have been a century or so before. 

In common with most of the Highland tribes, the people of Mendi and the Lai Valley are highly theatrical by nature.  There is a lot of symbolism in the dress, costumes and make-up which applies to various situations and can, of course, be readily understood.  This imagery includes brides, who in the region are covered with a mixture of vegetable oil and soot and carry a wand, and widows who smear themselves with mud from the river and wear bulky necklaces of beads from the grass aptly named Job’s Tears.  The various dress and make-up of young warriors, ‘Big’ men etc. mean a lot to the local people though we were not there long enough to be able to decipher many implications.

The Lai Valley Spirit Man may not be a shaman at all though his forbidding appearance suggests something of that sort.  It has been suggested to us that he is demonstrating his unhappiness with someone or some event as he has adopted the widow’s make-up of river mud with clear tear marks. The widow’s beads add to the impression and his choice of feathers for his headdress speak volumes.  Most of the traditional headdresses are of Bird of Paradise  and parrot feathers, all of radiant colours.  He has chosen the feathers of night birds and probably birds of prey.   As he leads the parade at a large tribal congress, his public display will not go unnoticed.  The bones add another macabre detail.

Saturday 20 August 2016

Visit the Atelier de La Conche

Atelier and Gallery de La Conche


Website/Site Internet:www.bowater.fr

This year, for the first time, we opened our Gallery as part of the
Festival Arts & Vigne in Chatillon-en-Diois.

The Festival ran from 7th to 14 August.  Opening in our own Gallery,
which is about 5 minutes' walk from the village, as we expected reduced
the number of visitors substantially, especially given the very hot, sunny
weather throughout the Festival.  But, as we had hoped, we had enough
serious visitors to declare the experiment a success.

The Gallery will now remain open in the long-term.  Since the end of the
Festival visitors have continued to come and we have had a reassuring number of sales and orders.  

We are usually here, at home, but of course not always.  It's wise to phone
us in advance so that we can be sure to be available if you wish to visit
the Gallery.  We have plenty of parking space and are in easy walking
distance of the village.  You will find a location map on our website:

Apart from Georgina's graphic images created for interior display, which we
present more in the manner of classical art than in the standard, conservative
photographic form, we also have a wide range of more conventional
photography and a valuable collection of images that we took in
Papua New Guinea between 1970 and 1973 and which were the subject of a
substantial exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

We print in our workshop on-site and, if required, to order onto Fineart
Watercolour Paper or 'Lyve' canvas.  The canvas prints are treated
with a matte, protective, invisible coating which dispenses with the
need for glass.