Photographer to capture images of every RNLI station

A photographer from Newcastle upon Tyne has embarked on an epic mission to capture images of every RNLI station in the British Isles using traditional techniques from the Victorian times. Jack Lowe, who's been a member of the RNLI since a child, wanted to combine his passion for photography, the sea and the rescue service in one unique project. 

Jack will now spend the next three to five years travelling to all 237 RNLI stations, starting on the Norfolk and Suffolk coast. Speaking about the project, he said: "The lifeboat community is very unique to the British culture, it's full of humility and generosity and I want to raise awareness of that. "I want to be the needle and thread, joining the network together with one beautiful project. It's something I really believe in." 

Three photographs will be captured at each station, one with a view over the water from the RNLI boathouse, a portrait of the coxswain and one of the entire crew. In recognition of the RNLI's heritage, Jack has decided to forgo digital cameras and smartphones, instead using traditional equipment and the wet plate collodion process from the Victorian period to develop his images. 

"I'm using exactly the same chemical formulae and methods they did in the Victorian times. The finished piece is ready to see in minutes and the RNLI crewmen can watch it happen," he said. As part of his project, Jack purchased a decommissioned ambulance from eBay and transformed it into a mobile dark room. 
Fifty limited edition prints will be available to buy online from each plate, with the money raised helping to fund Jack's project and the RNLI. "I've essentially turned my back on the business I've been running for the last 15 years and I'm hoping this works. I'm relying on people to purchase prints in order to keep me on the road. 

"When it's all done and dusted, an appropriate donation will be made to the RNLI. They're over the moon with the awareness that's being raised," he added. When the project is complete, Jack's dream is to have the original glass plates on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. 

RNLI film and image manager Eleanor Driscoll said: "We're delighted that Jack is embarking on this project - it's always fantastic to find people who share our passion for lifeboats and the communities they serve. 

"His work will give a new perspective of our volunteers' lifesaving work and help us raise awareness and funds. We're looking forward to seeing the results and wish him luck with his project." You can follow Jack's journey via his website, The Lifeboat Station Project, or on Twitter and Facebook

by Isobel Smith
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