About Us

Welcome to Aries Gallery

Norah Bowmer

Born in Lancashire, Norah was brought up in a 500 year-old farm cottage just outside the village of Baxenden where she used to help her father develop his photographs in the darkroom he built into the corner of a bedroom. This is where her interest in photography began and she still has his Zeiss Ikon bellows camera.

Educated at Haslingden Grammar School, she went on to study BSc Computer Studies at Sheffield Polytechnic (now Hallam University) where she met Alan Bowmer.

Her first trip abroad was to South Africa in 1985 where she began to develop an interest in wildlife as well as landscape photography, but never had the time to take it seriously.

Work has taken her to many places throughout the UK and abroad, and she has rarely travelled without a camera of some sort, even if it is a compact camera.

More recently she and Alan have attended a number of photography workshops and taken part in photographic holidays to some spectacular locations around the world, the results of which can be seen at Aries gallery. In 2020, Norah completed an Open University Photography course. She is currently studying MLitt Orkney and Shetland Studies with the University of Highlands and Islands.

Growing up, and into early adult life, Norah would make some of her own clothes, including her wedding dress and one of her bridesmaid dresses in 1980.

She enjoyed embroidery but didn’t really have the patience or the time for hand embroidery and eventually bought an entry level embroidery machine in 2000. Since then she has progressed to multi-needle “cottage industry” machines, one of which can be seen at work in the workroom at Aries Gallery, and she now digitises her own designs.

Commissions Norah has undertaken over the past few years include embroidering various garments and badges for the Ness of Brodgar excavations display cabin, personalised towels for Dounby day centre users, as well as a number of customised special occasions cards and wall hangings for weddings, anniversaries, significant birthdays etc.

Alan Bowmer

Alan’s interest in photography started at an early age whilst on holiday in Czechoslovakia . He was given a simple Russian 35mm camera by friends he met, which was totally manual. This meant he had to learn the settings to use by experimentation, having no light meter at the time, and that experience gave him a good grounding for later photography.

This all happened before the 1968 Russian invasion of  Czechoslovakia. Alan continued with photography on returning to the UK and took up developing his own black and white photographs. When he entered university this all got left behind and his subsequent career took up most of his time, although he did still continue to take a small amount of colour negative photographs.

About 15 years ago he picked up his first primitive digital camera and again got hooked on photography. Over the years since then, Alan’s photographic equipment has progressed up the technical specification ladder, moving from bridge cameras, which he had considerable success with, to his first DSLR bought in Singapore in 2006, and he hasn’t looked back since. At this time most of his photography was landscape but in 2015 a last minute 3-day safari in South Africa sparked a passion for wildlife photography, a passion that has now taken him to many parts of the world.

He still likes to keep his hand in with the older cameras, taking the odd roll of film with an old Minolta X700 and Yashica twin lens reflex, and has plans to restore Norah’s Zeiss Ikon camera that belonged to her father.

Some of Alan’s work has recently been exhibited in the Pier Arts Centre Annual Open Exhibition in Stromness, Orkney.