RNLI Pin Ups Help Make Photographic History
Lifeboat crews from around the UK and Ireland have become ‘pin ups’ in a new calendar that supports one of the biggest photographic projects ever undertaken.
The calendar features volunteer crews from all round the coast; the coxswain from Penlee; the iconic lifeboat station at Bembridge; the old and new lifeboat stations at St Davids in Wales, and a historic lifeboat that saved troops from the beaches of Dunkirk among others.
All the images were taken by Jack Lowe as part of his epic mission to visit all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland, to photograph each one using Wet Plate Collodion, a Victorian process that allows him to record stunning images on glass.
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 eight-year odyssey is one of the biggest photographic projects ever undertaken and, when finished, will be the first complete record of every single lifeboat station on the RNLI network.
The 2019 Lifeboat Station Project calendar is the first calendar Jack has produced on his journey. He says that he hopes it will serve two purposes: one, to raise awareness of the work of the brave volunteer crews of the RNLI, and two, to support him in his attempt to immortalise them.
Jack’s work is largely self-funded and he relies on sales of merchandise and the backing of his supporters to keep his project on the road.
Jack said: "I hope this calendar will be an easy way for people to show their support for my project - and that my images of lifeboats and lifeboat crews will inspire them throughout the New Year. People who buy it are helping me to create an historic archive, preserving a vital slice of island life for future generations."
The 13-month calendar is made up of images from Bembridge, Union Hall, Clovelly, Portree, Margate, Mallaig, The Mumbles, Tenby, St Davids, Port Isaac, Penlee, Wells-next-the-Sea and Fishguard.
Many of the images have already appeared in national galleries and the national press. Jack’s photographs have attracted a great deal of attention, even though he is only half way through his journey. He has gathered nearly 30,000 followers on social media, and seen his work exhibited at the National Library of Wales, The Perth Museum and The Great North Museum.
He is also due to be featured in a major RNLI exhibition entitled Calm Before the Storm: The Art of Photographing Lifeboats at Poole Museum next year.
Since he began The Lifeboat Station Project, Jack has photographed over 2000 RNLI volunteers, driven over 28,000 miles, which is more than once round the world, and used about 8400 litres of fuel.
When Jack reached the half way point in Dover in September, RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier said: “Jack’s work is not only an artistic triumph, but a fantastic way in which to raise awareness of the RNLI through this unique imagery. His extraordinary journey has touched the hearts of many and will be remembered for years to come both as a captivating story and through the stunning images that will be his legacy.”
The calendar is available from Jack’s website here: https://lifeboatstationproject.com/calendar/. There are also some available to buy at Poole Museum shop.
Notes to Editors:
LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS MONTH-BY-MONTH
JANUARY 2019: The view from Bembridge RNLI inshore lifeboat station, Isle of Wight, England
FEBRUARY 2019: The volunteer helms of Union Hall RNLI lifeboat station, County Cork, Ireland
MARCH 2019: Five women of Clovelly RNLI lifeboat station, Devon, England
APRIL 2019: The view from Portree RNLI lifeboat station, Isle of Skye, Scotland
MAY 2019: The Margate RNLI lifeboat volunteers, Kent, England (also cover image)
JUNE 2019: RNLB Lucy Lavers, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, England
JULY 2019: The Mallaig RNLI lifeboat volunteers, Lochaber, Scotland
AUGUST 2019: The view from The Mumbles offshore RNLI lifeboat station, Swansea Bay, Wales
SEPTEMBER 2019: The Tenby RNLI lifeboat volunteers, Pembrokeshire, Wales
OCTOBER 2019: The old and new St Davids RNLI boathouses, Pembrokeshire, Wales
NOVEMBER 2019: The Port Isaac RNLI lifeboat volunteers, Cornwall, England
DECEMBER 2019: Patrick ‘Patch’ Harvey, Penlee RNLI Coxswain, silhouetted in the old boathouse at Mousehole, Cornwall, England,
JANUARY 2020: The Fishguard RNLI lifeboat volunteers, Pembrokeshire, Wales
The Lifeboat Station Project calendar is made by an FSC® certified CarbonZero™ company using: 50% recycled cover and pages, compostable cornstarch bag, vegetable-based inks, low alcohol printing.
Each calendar costs £15 plus packaging and postage.
For press enquiries or additional images, please contact the RNLI Press Office: 01202 336789/ email@example.com.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.