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Bowens International was founded as Bowens Camera Service Company, a London based camera repair company, in 1923 which by the 1950s had grown to be one of the largest in Europe. In 1963, the name Bowens International LTD. was registered.
Until the 1960s, studio flash systems were large and cumbersome, requiring bulky power generators to power the flash heads, connected by large cables. In 1963, Bowens invented the first electronic studio flash unit with its power source built into it. This became known as a monobloc (sometimes Monolite) which is now an industry standard tool.
Following this invention the company dedicated itself to the design and production of studio flash equipment, Bowens Sales & Service grew out of the Bowens Camera service company and in 1966 they made their first appearance at photokina showing their products to the worldwide photography community and taking their first steps towards global distribution.
In 1968 they produced an update to the Monobloc, The Monolite 400 and later products such as Quad, Prolite and Esprit have also proved popular amongst photographic professionals.
Today, the company continues to produce studio flash systems and photographic accessories, designed in Colchester, England and manufactured at its factory in Suzhou, China. With distribution in more than 70 countries Bowens lighting equipment is the most used flash product in the world.
Bowens International is a corporate patron of the Royal Photographic Society and a Company Affiliate of the Association of Photographers as well as a Corporate Affiliate of the British Institute of Professional Photography.
Bowens currently offer many products, ranging from their compact flash units, to their softboxes and accessories.
The compact flash was first introduced by Bowens in the 1960s. The new range called 'Gemini' include the Standard Gemini, The Gemini R and finally the Gemini Pro. The powers range from 200w in the standard Gemini to 1500w in the Gemini Pro. The Gemini flashes can be used with a wide range of reflectors and softboxes.
Bowens' current range of generators include the QUADX, QUAD2400 and Explorer 1500. They power up to 4 channels at any one time, with a power range of between 31w and 3000w for one head. Power can be adjusted to within 1/10 - stop.
Bowens has 3 continuous light products. These are called Studiolite, Unilite and Trilite. These products allow continuous lighting to be shone onto the subject that is being photographed. They run cool, allowing the lights to be run for a long time without heating up the subject if it is in close proximity.
Bowens manufacture a huge range of reflectors for their lighting systems. They provide both Portrait and Effects reflectors, which are used for different effects when photographing a subject.
Bowens also sell softboxes.
Bowens offer many accessories for their products, ranging from the radio triggers offered earlier, to lighting supports and special effect machines.
Bowens YouTube channel shows the latest news regarding the company and its products. A series of five-minute tutorials called "Hough To" (A pun on the surname of the presenter Christian Hough) show a variety of creative lighting techniques using Bowens products. A series of short videos entitled "Behind the Picture" (the company's strapline) follow photographers as they set up and work on shots.
litebook - the creative lighting magazine is a free English-language photography magazine founded in 2008 by Robert Cook and David Hollingsworth and published by the Bowens International. Released quarterly, each issue features a series of regular sections related to creative photographic lighting. Each issue is published in print and an electronic edition.
The print edition is available free of charge from various photographic retailers and is also inserted into several professional photographic magazines.
The digital edition is emailed to the subscriber database and is also linked to the Bowens website.
- Pro:File - A leading photographer is profiled over multiple pages with several examples of their work. Each Pro:File looks at how the photographer uses lighting in their images.
- Top Gear - A review of a new or interesting photographic lighting product. Usually, but not exclusively, written by Warehouse Express Lighting Expert, Steve Aves.
- Top of the Class - A student studying photography is interviewed about their hopes and aspirations and their reasons for choosing to follow a career in photography.
- Working Space - Features a successful professional photographic studio business, focusing on the equipment used in the studio and typical uses for the studio space.
- Hough To - Leading commercial and fine-art photographer Christian Hough http://www.christianhough.com walks readers step-by-step through a photographic lighting technique with example images and lighting diagrams.
|||July/August 2008||1||Gene Kiegel, Chris Reeve, Urban Photography, and Mark Witard|
|||September/October 2008||2||Trevor Yerbury, Faye Yerbury, Gareth Gatrell, Courtyard Studios, and Dominic Angelo Aleandri|
|||November/December 2008||3||Lisa Visser, Frazer Visser, Karol Tomaszewski, The Light Studios, and Ryan Reid Leitner|
|||Q1 2009||4||Sacha Goerke, Fotoakendemie Westfalen, Joseph Foster-Middleton, and Garage Studios|
|||Q2 2009||5||Steve Collinson, Adam Scott, Ian Shipley, Burlison Photography, Sarah Louise Johnson, and Zemamnesh Campbell|
|||Q3 2009||6||Dean Stockings, adimodel, Simon Burt, Simulacra Studios, Jon Gray, and Latifu Laoye|
|||Q4 2009||7||Jonathan Beer, Broad daylight, Patrick Lindqvist, Gallerino Studio, James Brown, and Will Douglas|
|||Q1 2010||8||McVirn Etienne, Danny North, 10Watt Studios, and Sophie Ellen Lachowycz|
|||Q2 2010||9||Lara Jade, SarahPhotoGirl, Shirlaine Forrest, Faye Yerbury, Photofusion Studio and India Hobson|
|||Q3 2010||10||Adrian Samson, Gareth Gatrell, James Nader and Ellen Kennedy|
|||Q4 2010||11||James Nader, Jack Eames, Chris Reeve, London College of Fashion, Sophie Pycroft and Camilo Echeverri|
- Companies House website
- Royal Photographic Society website Accessed 20 August 2012
- Association of Photographers website Archived July 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- British Institute of Professional Photography website[permanent dead link]
- First issue of litebook magazine