Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Graphlex Pacemaker Speed Graphic wanted..

.. along with a 90mm or near wide lens.

sexy, huh?

if you have one you don´t use drop me a line – info (at)

ta very much…

i spent a week in france…

.. and all i got was this lousy chicken.

chicken at village nr verdun

Not really.. Sitting in a cafe in Versailles having the nervous first look, something i have always liked – even more so when there was the forced pause-for-thought while films were dev and scanned. There are 1000’s to trawl through looking for the magic few and that’s where the nerves come in. I know the gems are there, and once collected together they will shine – for now though, I’m panning for gold and the mud clouds the water… editing now and for a week..

La Bresse in the mountains was misty.. drizzle.. Verdun was incredibly heavy with fierce rain, wind, and everything camera equipment does not like.. ‘Err 99′ rearing it’s ugly head on and off.. still, possibly the best time to visit the WW1 battlefields in the area to get a hint at the absolute misery the soldiers must have lived, and died, in..

Champagne was sunny – warm and lush rolling hills of vineyards and quaint, untouched villages.. the Loire was scorching hot.. shelter in the shade.. Bourgogne mixed vast open sky-scapes of layered clouds with an undulating and epic patchwork of farmer fields..

Home tomorrow .. apparently Tor Capa can say ‘grand dad’, ‘grand mum’ and more, (in norsk)..

good stuff..

i’m tired :o )

tor capa snapper

tor capas camera only has a live view screen on the back, rather than a viewfinder, yet having seen me photograph so often his instinct  is to put it to his face.

tor capa and his camera

it’s his norwegian grandfathers old digital point and shoot – after seeing how cheap a 5 mp camera sells for on ebay, we negotiated the price of a bottle of cognac.. top cat is over the moon..


the main subjects revolve around looking up, looking down, his limbs, toys and milk… self awareness creeping in.. not much of a surprise from a 21 month old, although within his first 50 or so photos there is one of himself crying which strikes a chord..



yellow car bucket

pappas feet


new island home

tor capa and beate paddling yesterday.

click the photo for info.

Derry wins ´City of Culture´ 2013

The general perception of Northern Ireland has taken quite a battering over the years, as have it´s people.

The media bias, as with other places which have experienced upheaval, focuses upon division rather than the consolidation and reconstruction. It is in part the nature of the news, and perhaps also the nature of reporters who seek to cut their teeth on ´tough´ stories.. Few journalists actually return when the fighting stops to see what happens next, and so the public are left with an impression which can be warped and wholly unfair.

sandinos bar during the celtronic festival, 2004

Derry in the North of Ireland is one such place – a haven of good energy and positive thought which thoroughly deserves the attention, (as well as the money), of the 2013 ´City of Culture´ commission. There is so much is going on musically and culturally that makes the city worth a visit. When coupled with the warmth of it´s people and affordable flights from from the U.K., it is astonishing that more people have yet to discover the place. It is perhaps the most exciting city I´ve had the pleasure to work in, with the most compelling parties anywhere in the world and the richest of photographic possibilities.

The first time I went to Derry it was to cover the Celtronic Festival in 2004. Not knowing the city or how to find the venue, after dropping my bags at the hotel I asked a man on the street for directions to Sandinos bar. More than just pointing out a direction, the guy actually walked me the 800 or so meters to the place, leaving me staggered at his kindness at the door. The tone perfectly set for this first trip, over the next few years i was drawn back time and time again. It´s a place I will always visit.

You can read more about Derry and my time there on Burn Magazine by clicking the photograph above and skimming over the comments. For now though – CONGRATULATIONS to all the Derry promoters, musicians and gig-goers who have worked so hard to pick the city up over the past 10 years..

a moving photo for midsummer

moving, that is, rather that moving… from our balcony in bergen last night.


happy summer solstice

2 hours leading up to midnight from david bowen on Vimeo.

LOOKbetween – 3 days of peace, love and photography

June 11th – 13th

Web links – here for all participating artist websites and here for the LOOKbetween tumbler site

Nestled in rolling hills near Charlottesville, Virginia, Deep Rock Farm was an idyllic location for the first LOOKbetween event, held over 3 days earlier this month. The idea was a simple one – to bring 90 of the most promising emerging photographers together with industry professionals in order to explore the possibilities bought about by new-media. I was lucky enough to be nominated as a participating artist by and so, tentless though keen, i jumped on a plane.

the projection screen at deep rock farm, virginia

Each of the nominated emerging photographers submitted a 3-minuet multimedia piece for viewing over 2 nights under the stars on a huge inflatable cinema screen. Photographers from Magnum and Vii agencies, companies such as Leica & BD, as well as publications, (the most notable of which was the National Geographic), viewed the work alongside participating artists.

What became immediately clear during the first night of 45 projections was just how forward thinking most photographers are regarding multimedia and new forms of story telling. Almost all of the shows had music, narration and some element of video incorporated, with some pieces containing no still photography whatsoever. The wide pool of artists exhibiting meant that all genres of photography were represented, from Ben Roberts ´Gather Clouds´, urban landscapes shot in Spain to Andrea Gjestvangs intimate and occasionally bleak documentary work from Greenland. Perhaps the most successful pieces were collaborative affairs, with professional video and audio editors working alongside photographers as with Brian L. Frank’s ´Mexican Drug Wars´ and Dima Gavryshs ´Afghanistan Year 9´. Simple photo essays became seamless and compelling, tightly edited narratives, fine art work washed over us and all varieties of work became much more than their parts – highly accomplished multimedia presentations which were a treat to see projected so large.

Other personal highlights from the projections included Brandon Thibodaux’s project focusing on a travelling U.S. freak show and Audrey Bardou´s beautifully contemplative project ´Brigitte et Bernard´, which focuses on the lives of her parents.

During daylight people swam in the lake, ate superb meals and met informally around the camping ground and barn in the sweltering heat. The general lack of pretension combined with the inspiring surroundings created an open atmosphere for discussion and the exchanging of ideas. Having so much collected personal experience between the photographers and represented companies could easily have led to intimidating or competitive dialogue, yet instead a genuinely pleasant air of exploration and a willingness to listen led the way.

the outlook for LOOKbetween

The ´big names´ blending so well with the ´emerging talent´ was due in a big way to the inclusive and socially aware preparation of the organizers. For example – after the evening slide shows a roaring fire was lit in the campsite, around which you could just as easily bump into the National Geographic Director of Photography as you could Vii´s Gary Night or Magnums David Harvey. The banquette-like mealtimes were another excellent idea, and participants were greeted with smiles and introductions regardless of where they chose to sit. With everyone in the same frame of mind, and everyone seeing fresh and innovative work in abundance, there was simply no room for ego or stuffiness.

On the Saturday morning we divided into smaller groups, each group containing a handful of industry professionals with a variety of disciplines mixed with emerging photographers. These focus groups began talking through ideas, possibilities and ways forward for an image making industry struggling with its identity in the era of electronic-media. Far from reaching conclusions, the motivation for the groups, and the weekend as a whole, was to open channels of dialogue that could weigh up the options and expand each of our perceptions of publishing and story telling. Most refreshing of all was the fact that rather than being dictated to and lectured, it was the emerging photographers who led the debate, turning the traditional model for photo festivals on it’s head.

The group I participated with included National Geographic’s Director of E-Publishing David Griffin and photographer Michael (Nick) Nichols as well as software designers, online publishers and freelancers like myself.  The dialogue was to be focused on new technologies such as the iPad and how the work-flow for photographers, business model for publishers and experience for the viewers could be consolidated.

It was quickly obvious is that while photographers and publishers struggle to keep up, viewers of the work expect an almost instant adoption of new technologies. That is to say, purchasers of the iPad need content, while content providers are still in the decision making process of what to provide and how to provide it. It was also clear that with technology moving so fast, the photographic and publishing industries might well be playing catch-up for some time to come. Even the most forward thinking magazine designer will be overtaken – and perhaps confused – by the limitless possibilities of online publishing, and photographers are still finding our feet.

Knowing what to provide as an image-maker, and having the confidence to provide it knowing you will be fairly paid, are at the forefront of professionals minds. Perhaps there is a need to allow technology to move ahead of us and settle, during which time we can come to terms with the new software and work-flows required. Alternatively, perhaps magazines will have their own in-house multimedia facilitators, paid with the savings made on print costs of the old publishing model.

In either case, it seems that photographers can no longer limit themselves to the ´frame´ nor depend upon delivering simple images to pay the rent. We may become editors of video and providers of a different kind of content in order to survive at a time when many publications are not sure what they need or what the viewing public want to see.

There were no conclusions intended from the discussion groups themselves and the evolution of ideas bought up will no doubt continue on blogs and forums for months to come. Yet the feeling is that everybody benefited in some way from the intelligent and thought provoking points covered. It was rewarding to gather perspectives in real time, face to face with such a diverse group. After all, how often is it that a freelance one-man-band photographer can sit in the shade of a tree alongside such focused industry professionals and spend long hours exploring these topics? Like wise, where else have these publishers and programmers had the opportunity to gather feedback from the creative edge of image making regarding what we are able to provide?

LOOKbetween at Deep Rock Farm from Andrew Owen on Vimeo.

In retrospect, the discussions groups were a strong highlight of the weekend. While at times the current industry changes can seem confusing and the dialogue too cyclic, there is no doubt that the evolution of thought begun in those groups continues to expand. What initially could have seemed like a hollow exercise in token debate became, through the efforts of all involved, a genuinely eye opening and mind expanding open seminar which even now, a week later as I write this and edit work for clients, seeps into mind.

My own small conclusions are that the possibilities are there for the taking, and it is the photographers prepared to accept new media, create a new role for themselves and get their stories out there that will win through in the long term. Now is a time when magazine and Internet publishers are open to ideas, fluid in their thoughts and willing to view work that takes full advantage of new technology. From our perspective as image makers we have the chance to reach previously unheard of audience numbers through the web if we provide the right content. Magazines and websites, who will hopefully catch on and pay fairly for Multimedia, in part depend a little on us to take the lead and show them what is possible.

Perhaps the largest benefit of the weekend was the potential to better understand new media, the role within it which photographers can create and the various options, pressures and conclusions which publishers are faced with. When web publication settles into a groove similar to print publication, editors will be looking for people who can create ready-to-drop-in stories that connect with their unique audience in a fresh and compelling way. Editors are more open to ideas and methods than ever before and part of the emphasis is upon us to lead the way.

Traditional stories told in contemporary ways, marketed to a viewer who wants to see the work on the latest technology.

Understanding this relationship is key if we want to maximize the impact of our work by reaching the biggest possible audience, regardless of our individual intentions as photographers.

The buzz that LOOKbetween began will resonate with the participating artists and industry leaders alike for a long while. There’s no doubt that when we each draw our conclusions on the best way forward, this first of many yearly weekends on the farm will be in mind.

All we have to do is learn some new software applications, think creatively about the viewing experience and move forward rather than bemoan the changes. The rest is just finding a publication.. an editor who supports us.. and filing an invoice which reflects the work we have done. Some things will never change.

LOOKbetween and Slideluck Potshow

This month my ´Wasted´ project has been shown at the excellent LOOKbetween and Slideluck Potshow events in the U.S. and London respectively. You can see the piece i presented below.

´Wasted´ shown at LOOKbetween and Slideluck Potshow from david bowen on Vimeo.

X-Factor commission out-takes



judges hair




Tank Park Salute

Michael John Bowen, August 1991

As self indulgent as this blog gets, i hope you are bearing with me. I am actually shooting a few new project ideas at the moment – i digress though… more of that another time.

Billy Bragg is playing right now as today is the 18th anniversary of my fathers death in 1992 when i was 19 years old. Beate pointed out that within a few months i will have spent more of my life without him than with, and so perhaps that is a good enough reason to ponder..

I had just that Friday returned from my second trip to India for the Manduwala project and had not seen him for the better part of a year… we caught up on the Saturday.. I slept through the Sunday .. and after he had passed on the Monday Phil came round to keep me company.. After the worst of My Struggle, we watched Monty Pythons ´Life of Brian´, and i tried to feel anything but the way i felt.

As a tribute of sorts, and with my father in mind, I´ve begun photographing the remains of his life.. a stained and dusty envelope with army records.. the blood-red ´Instructions for Opening Fire´ card from his time on Cyprus during the 60´s, (below)..  his taxi license badges which were strung around his neck 12 hours a day for the better part of 30 years.. the only photograph i have of him – the only one i took (at top)..

Cyprus ´Rules of Engagement´

Perhaps the start of a Bruce Chatwin inspired project entitled ´God Box´ – finding a place for the bits of paper and other mementos which are kept in a small wooden foot stall. Click.. Click… Click.. I began to take the photos of sorrowful and meager possessions.. however, too much navel gazing you start to see the fluff.

I´ve found that the loss of a parent never gets easier, yet coping with the loss becomes second nature.. a rite of passage which forces a strange kind of self control. Perhaps all the disparate circumstances of mortality lend us that.  Of course I wish we´d talked more.. adult to adult.. I´d love to hear more about his time in the east-end of London in the early 1940´s.. the gangs.. his place.. and how he came to have his ear sliced by a flying brick. I know virtually nothing of my extended family there.. families.. tschk. A project for the future.

The grief is mostly selfish – looking for tantalizing references of a history to perhaps fill the void left by my impossibly small family. Some though is not. He would be proud of Tor Capa – his grandson – and my beautiful lover Beate.. Norway would have rocked his boat. No doubt he would join me for a Scotch and laugh back at that idealistic teenager,  banging around in the loft 21 years ago.. trying to make a darkroom balance on a broken door which was laid flat across ceiling rafters.

So I was just on the brink of picking at the fluff in my metaphorical belly button, when Tor Capa heard the bright *chink* of Dads brass taxi badges.. (he presumes that any metallic shiny object which ´rings´ belongs to him). He bumbles over, grabs the badges from me, strings them around his neck and in doing so effortlessly drags me directly back to The Present.

Good boy.

Cheers Dad..

sh-sh-shake it like a polaroid picture

Recently The Impossible Project launched a polaroid replacement film

Coincidentally, today I found a workbook from 1996 in which there were some polaroid transfers, (or ´lifts´), which seem to have survived…

here are a couple of portrait examples, originally shot on a 6×6 hasselblad 500cm with a Polaroid back

a moment in time

Beate bathing Tor Capa

here is my submission for the NYT lens blog ¨moment in time¨ project.

Ibiza photos in-flight

photographs taken during last septembers week-long ibiza commission from INK, have begun to be published in their in-flight magazines.. if you’re on a plane, keep em peeled..

matador network

look  here

thanks to paulo for the plug.

the compelling image

i´m going to begin teaching online courses with the compelling image during april – music and youth culture photography will be the focus for the first.

please have a look and get in touch with TCI.. also have a look around their other courses, as they represent an excellent alternative the to the large financial outlay which traditional workshops involve.
soon there will also be the option of extended mentoring by the instructors and more – please bookmark the site and check back.

featured on burn magazine

a few of my derry photos are currently up on burn magazine.. click here or the photo above and please tuck in with a comment, good or bad.

a chance for ex-students to give some back, perhaps :ø)

buy prints

new years eve, 10/15, san francisco, 2001/2

well – it´s been a tough winter and so a clear out of proof and exhibition prints is on the cards. i´m in the process of organizing this page into a print sales area – all work will be available for purchase via paypal in a variety of sizes and prices, and soon i will load actual photos of the prints ready to dispatch. these are prints which were made-to-scan for specific clients, or exhibition proofs from my ´club class´ (2002)  or ´manduwala´ (1997) exhibitions.

for now though, if there are any photographs on my site or blogs which you are interested in please email through my website as all work is available as one off bespoke pieces, supplied signed and dated in hardwood exhibition frames or as carefully packaged prints.

a ¨boxed set¨ portfolio is also being prepared from my ´wasted´ book project. this will feature 10 large dry mounted, signed and numbered proof prints in a hand made, velvet covered presentation box – embossed with the books title. these will be limited to 10 available boxes and the selected prints / product photos will be uploaded soon. the sale of these limited edition, exhibition quality folios will help to fund the work and travel needed to secure a publisher for the final the book.

please get in touch for more info.

renaissance, u.k., 1998

undeveloped – 1

40 rolls of 35mm and 6 rolls of 120 which will have been shot from 1994 to 2006.. most of them during the 90´s.
1512 exposures.
this bag of odds n ends has been carried around as i´ve moved house a dozen times and always mean´t to develope them, yet never had the funds to do so.

i´ve always had a habit of living beyond my means photographically, shooting more than i could afford to. these films represent after-parties, photos from india i did not want to see and goodness knows what else.. some are extra rolls from working on commission – `emergency` films i ended up shooting which did not contain magazine-useable photos and therefore did not justify developing.

i think it´s time to do something with them.. i´m still skint and so it´s tempting to sell a couple off on ebay as-is.. pot luck for a buyer.. curiosity is getting the better of me though, so i´m going to keep them.

will post some results here – could be some surprises.


Tor Capa is 1 year old

.. so he has just had his first ice cream on a stick..

..and his first party..