Calm Before the Storm: The Art of Photographing Lifeboats Exhibition

‘Calm Before the Storm: The Art of Photographing Lifeboats’ will be on display at Poole Museum from January 26 to April 22 2019.

Spread over two floors of the museum, the photography exhibition will take visitors on a journey from the lifeboat builders of the early 20th Century to the faces of the brave volunteers who crew the high-tech lifeboats of today.

On the way, they will discover stories of historic rescues; find out about the lifeboats that went to war and uncover the alchemy behind glass plate photography.

The first floor gallery presents a remarkable collection of images from the RNLI archive. For generations, the Beken family in Cowes has photographed maritime activity in the area, creating a stunning visual record of Isle of Wight industry and RNLI lifeboats.

The second floor gallery is also full of beautiful glass plate imagery of lifeboats and lifeboat crews, but from an inspiring modern day odyssey called The Lifeboat Station Project. The eight-year mission, which is the brainchild of photographer Jack Lowe, began in January 2015. Jack is visiting all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK and Republic of Ireland to capture them using Wet Plate Collodion, a Victorian process that creates stunning images on glass.

The exhibition has been made possible with the support of both the Heritage Lottery Fund and a RNLI donor. For more information about the Heritage Lottery Fund/ Beken Project go here:

For more information, please contact Poole Museum via phone 01202 262600 or email


Poole Museum
4 High Street
BH15 1BW


Start date: End date: