Photographer Jack Lowe has been on Scilly taking photos and documenting the St Mary’s Lifeboat Station in collaboration with the RNLI as part of The Lifeboat Station Project.
Jack, grandson of Dad’s Army actor Arthur Lowe, has loved the RNLI since he was a little boy. He became a member of Storm Force, the charity’s club for children, aged 10 – a couple of years after he picked up his first camera.
The Project, which began in January 2015, will see Jack visit all 237 RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland, photographing the view from each station along with the crew and Coxswain/Senior Helm using Wet Plate Collodion, a Victorian process that allows him to record stunning images on glass. Jack's trip to Scilly is “mission” number 79 and he hopes complete his journey by 2020-2021.
Jack, who lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, travels in Neena — his decommissioned NHS ambulance purchased on eBay and converted into a mobile darkroom.
The ambitious five-year odyssey is one of the biggest photographic projects ever undertaken and, when finished, will be the first complete photographic record of every single lifeboat station on the RNLI network.
Jack looks set to reach the half-way point in late 2017 – and 2017 will also include the Project’s first visit to Ireland.
When Jack visits a lifeboat station, he makes the portraits using a camera made in 1905, and then develops the images in his mobile darkroom. The volunteer lifeboat crew members are able to step into the ambulance and watch as their portraits appear on the glass plates – an experience Jack says they find fascinating, and sometimes very moving.
In its first two years, The Lifeboat Station Project has already attracted national media attention, with Jack appearing in everything from the BBC Countryfile programme to The Times newspaper. It’s also proved extremely popular on social media, with over 22,500 followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – and that number increases daily.
You can Follow Jack’s RNLI photographic mission on Instagram (@lordlowe), Facebook (fb.com/LifeboatStationProject), on Twitter (@ProjectLifeboat) or on the Project’s dedicated site (http://lifeboatstationproject.com).
An RNLI film about the Project can be watched here. You can listen to Will chatting Jack about The Lifeboat Station Project and his passion for Photography and the RNLI below.