The Thames was such an exciting mission — a short sharp ‘shock’ to give The Lifeboat Station Project a boost and take it to a much wider audience.
Once I’ve finished preparing the latest crop of photographs and published them on these pages — you can see some of them now, by the way — in a week or so, I’d like to write about my journey through the Capital in more detail…
Today, I find myself in a position where I’m getting on top of things including fulfilling recent print orders, some more of which are about to leave the studio and wing their way to their new homes.
This afternoon, I’ve started varnishing the Thames plates. It’s quite a peaceful, contemplative task and one during which I’ve been having some thoughts…
Lately, I’ve come to notice a regular set of questions put to me along these lines:
“So, what’s your proper job?”
“How do you fit this in with your normal job?”
“When you go back, I guess you’ll be getting on with your normal job?”
“So, who have you got the funding from?”
“The RNLI must be paying you well if you can take time off to do this!”
“Wow, you must be well-off to be doing this!”
You get the idea?
It occurred to me that if I’m asked these questions so often, perhaps many of you don’t realise the motivation and background behind the Project.
My friends and loved ones do, of course, not least my wife and teenage children.
That doesn’t mean that everyone else understands. If that’s the case, I’m more than happy to explain.
However, I’m the first to empathise with the fact that there’s far too much stuff on the internet to read; the last thing I’m expecting is that each of you will have read everything I’ve ever written (much as I’d like to flatter myself that you have and do)!
So, here’s the scoop…
For nearly fifteen years, I ran a printmaking business which photographers and artists around the globe know as Jack Lowe Studio.
I’d reached a point where the challenges appeared to have dried up; the adventurer in me had left the building and I was left in that building surrounded by computers.
“Do I want to spend the rest of my life in front of computers?” I’d ask myself. The honest answer was always an emphatic, “No!”.
For two years, there was an overlapping period as I searched my soul for something that would rejuvenate both my photographic career and the adventurer within me.
And, thus, The Lifeboat Station Project was born — a mission that would combine my love of photography, the sea and the RNLI; moreover, a mission that would unite the lifeboat community with an unprecedented body of photographs.
As I write this, I realise that I’ve now essentially turned my back on the business I ran for all those years to do something in which I totally believe.
By the time I’d set off for Southwold in January, I’d thrown every last penny into reaching that point during the year or so leading up to it.
I was nervous as hell because, in those moments on that rainy day, I simply had to make it work — I had to make beautiful photographs and I had to sell prints of them to put bread on the table for my family at home and to keep the Project on the road.
The only way I feel I can make this Project light up and touch so many people’s lives and help them feel they’re a part of something special is to throw everything I have into it.
So, that’s what I’m doing. I am touching people’s lives and I believe they do feel a part of something special. What’s more, everyone who buys a print, a poster or makes a donation is providing my family with a living.
I love that and I’m so, so grateful for it.
To roll my sleeve up a little more and reveal an extra piece of my heart, it’s no exaggeration to share with you that, during the very early stages, I came extremely close to losing our family home too.
Thankfully, the Project came alive at just the right point to save the situation. That’s all I feel I want to say about that for now. However, when I make it to the end of the Project, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be mentioning it again at the opening night of the exhibition!
So that, in a nutshell, is about it.
I’ve travelled too far down the road to turn back now.
There’s no Plan B.
It’s all or nothing — simple as — and I hope you’re enjoying the journey as much as I am.
I’d like to thank all those who’ve supported the Project to this point — it’s truly moving to see so many of you recognising the value in the photographs I’m making.
If you think the world is a better place for The Lifeboat Station Project, please help to keep it on the road by making a donation, buying a poster or a print: