Friday, 13 March 2015

The Lifeboat Station Project.

Last week I was lucky enough to meet Jack Lowe.

Jack is a lifelong enthusiast and supporter of the RNLI.  Travelling in Neena, his decommissioned NHS ambulance (and mobile darkroom), Jack is on a mission to visit all 237 Lifeboat Stations in Britain and Ireland and document them all using an early Victorian process known as Wet Plate Collodion.

He is making three or four photographs (ambrotypes on glass) at each lifeboat station;  a group portrait of the crew, a portrait of each Coxswain or Senior Helm, and a view or two out to sea.

Here he is with his camera,  a fantastic affair made of wood...
Photo: Jack Lowe

...and here he is in West Mersea composing our crew picture,
Photo: Martin Wade

...and Jack's glass plate of Matthew Haward, our Senior Helm, sitting in the wash tray.
Photo: Jack Lowe

and steelyfaced on the slipway, a last minute extra.
Photo: Martin Wade

Jack said,

"Every now and then, the chance arises to make a special additional portrait 'outside the schedule'.

On our travels, it's quite striking that RNLI crews tend to be very male-dominated - about 98% I reckon so far.

I saw an opportunity at West Mersea Lifeboat Station yesterday to make a point of highlighting the fact that women can and do also volunteer as crew.

Leafy Dumas kindly agreed to spend an hour or so making her portrait.  Made with the sun blasting through a stormy sky, it's a beautiful plate and very similar in feel to the 'Old Man of the Sea' photograph made at Hunstanton in January...   "

Photo: Jack Lowe

Feeling hugely honoured to be given such a part in this project.  Thankyou so much Jack, and please forgive me for whipping half your photos from the internet to make this post. Some of the pictures are Jack's...  please folk, note the credits below each pic. ...and read about Jack's mission here.

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