Contemporary Rye Harbour RNLI immortalised by Victorian technology

Lifeboats News Release

Jack Lowe’s love of photography began at the age of eight when his grandmother gave him an Instamatic camera and he has never looked back

photographer Jack Lowe with the developed glass plate

RNLI/KT Bruce

Jack Lowe with the developed glass plate

After a career in photography, Jack was looking for a change in direction and came up with the idea of combining his love of photography, the sea and lifeboats: The Lifeboat Station Project was born on 12 January 2015. However, there is a twist because Jack works as the Victorian photographers used to do by making the photographs on glass. He travels in his mobile darkroom, a decommissioned ambulance called Neena. Jack’s aiming to visit all 238 lifeboat stations around the coastline of the UK and Ireland. Today, Tuesday 18 September, he visited Rye Harbour where he received a very warm welcome. Commenting on the experience Tim Dickinson, volunteer designate helm said, ‘Having my photograph taken by Jack Lowe was an amazing and informative experience. It was great to be a small part of such a big project. I was fascinated to be shown the process from beginning to end.’

He explained to KT Bruce, Rye Harbour Press Officer, that he is doing something he believes in, following his heart and turning his childhood passion for photography and the RNLI into a meaningful and engaging body of work for all to enjoy.

The camera he uses was made around 1905 by Thornton Pickard in Altrincham. The process used to produce the plates is even older, dating from 1851.

When asked why he uses such old technology, Jack explained, ‘By learning how to use wet plate collodion, I wanted to work just like the early pioneers of photography. I knew that if I could bring it to life on the coast, it would really engage the lifeboat volunteers too.’

Each glass plate - known as an Ambrotype - is a unique stand-alone piece of artwork. Jack’s ultimate vision is to show the photographs in geographical order around a huge gallery.

As Jack described further, ‘It’s an unprecedented journey. Since its inception, nobody has ever made a uniform body of work that unites the entire RNLI family.’

You can see all the work and learn how to support Jack at lifeboatstationproject.com and you can follow the journey on his social media channels:


Instagram: @lordlowe

Twitter: @ProjectLifeboat

Facebook: fb.com/LifeboatStationProject

RNLI Media contacts

• Kt Bruce, Rye Harbour RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer (07789) 818878 Kt@ktbrucephotography.com

• Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East), 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk

• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI online: For more information on the RNLI please visit http://www.rnli.org/. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 237 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.

The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland.

jack lowe photographer and ladies of the crew at Rye Harbour

RNLI/KT Bruce

the ladies of the crew watching the glass plate develop with Jack Lowe
photographer Jack Lowe setting up his camera

RNLI/KT Bruce

Jack Lowe setting up his camera
Jack Lowe off to process the plate

RNLI/KT Bruce

jack Lowe off to Neena to process the plate
photographer setting up the crew photo with his camera in the foreground

RNLI/KT Bruce

Jack Lowe setting up the crew photo

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 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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.

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