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Soveria, Corsica. Photo © Peter and Georgina Bowater

Soveria, Corsica - Peter and Georgina Bowater, 2004

1 August 2014

The original photograph from which this Photoshopped image comes was taken back in 2004 when our commissioned work was declining and stock sales provided the main part of our income.

We were at the end of a two-week walking tour of Corsica. It was bucketing with rain and as we passed Soveria there was a single break in the wild clouds which cast a pinprick of sunlight on the landscape. Guessing it might come our way we stood in the wet and waited for the light to strike the village and we got our shot. We had often stopped and waited for clear light to photograph Soveria and its mountainous backdrop but this was so much better.

The use of Photoshop is our reaction to the decline in stock income which came after 2004, together with an absence of assignments and a compelling need to make money. We wanted to continue our photography business without being dependent on stock agencies any more or having to shoulder the burden of selling our own stock. We had to face the fact that our original beautiful stock images produced over 40 years had become so widely spread into the sub-sub-stock agency network that for all intents and purposes they were lost forever.

So we determined to match our interests and lifestyle with a product that was not going to be sold for next to nothing or simply stolen outright.

We make images to sell as art prints using Photoshop creatively, a process we enjoy. In fact we regularly shoot images solely for their potential for manipulation.

The picture of Soveria, though, is one of our least manipulated. We simply intensified the drama of the storm, removed a breezeblock house outside the village and denied the villagers their satellite TV discs.

This improved the image by making it more authentically Corsican, we feel. The storms on the island really are dramatic and our first digital camera didn’t do a good enough job of emphasising that. With improved RAW processing and Photoshop we achieved something closer to the truth than the camera did. And the processed file produced a more than respectable A1 print.

A selection of our art prints will be on show during the annual Festival d’Arts & Vigne in our village of Châtillon-en-Diois in the Rhône-Alpes which runs from Sunday 3 August to Sunday 10 August 2014.

Peter and Georgina Bowater were working in agriculture in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea when a chance meeting with Philip Jones Griffiths prompted them to establish a photographic business on their return to the UK. They set up a studio in Edinburgh but the North Sea construction boom provided a more exciting opportunity and they worked individually for oil and construction companies before moving to London, where they developed a new peripatetic career as industrial photographers travelling the world over.

When the number of clients willing to pay realistic fees declined and stock sales dropped off they set up their own art photography business in France.

See more work by Peter and Georgina Bowater

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