Welcome. My name is Jack Lowe. I’m using photography, sound recordings and social media to tell the story of The Lifeboat Station Project.
As you can imagine, I’m regularly asked lots of questions, so I’ve made this special page collating a selection of them with my answers below.
I hope it’s useful!
WHO CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE LIFEBOAT STATION PROJECT?
I came up with the idea for The LSP and first presented it to the RNLI in 2012.My proposal was initially turned down while the RNLI worked on Nigel Millard’s fine book, Courage on our Coasts.
Over the next year or two, I further honed and refined the idea before presenting it again in the Spring of 2014, at which point I was invited to RNLI HQ in Poole for further talks.
HOW BIG IS THE PROJECT?
The LSP is one of the largest projects ever attempted in the history of photography. It’ll take around six years to complete and there’ll be about 1000 finished glass plates photographs.
WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?
I’m following my heart to do something I believe in, turning my childhood passions for photography and the RNLI into a meaningful and engaging body of work for all to enjoy.
WHAT’S YOUR NORMAL JOB?
There’s no normal job — this is it! I’ve thrown everything into The LSP.
It’s been a high risk strategy but the only way that I truly believe I can make it live up to my vision for it.
It’s now classic a case of having gone too far to turn back. There’s no Plan B.
WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU START THE LSP?
Logistical preparations for the first mission (LSP1) began in the winter of 2014. I hit the road for the first time on 11th January 2015, ready to photograph my first station on 12th January 2015.
ARE YOU GOING TO EVERY RNLI LIFEBOAT STATION?
Yes. There are currently 238 operational RNLI lifeboat stations and I’m going to every single one of them.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
If I manage to keep going at the current pace, I expect to finish by the end of 2020. That means it will have taken me around six years from start to finish.
ARE YOU GOING TO MY LOCAL STATION?
I certainly am! If there’s an RNLI station near you, I’ll be visiting it at some point (if I haven’t already).
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT THE LATEST ITINERARY?
I tend to work about a month ahead and usually announce the upcoming itinerary on social media and in the Newsletter.
You can find all the latest itinerary news using the interactive Mission Map:
HOW CAN I FOLLOW THE JOURNEY?
You can follow the journey here:
You can also subscribe to the newsletter:
HOW’S THE PROJECT FUNDED?
For the first two years of its life, I entirely self-funded the Project with money raised through the The LSP Shop — in essence, my own form of crowdfunding.
Since Autumn 2016, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a small contribution from the RNLI in return for the charity using my images to promote their work. However, the contribution covers less than half of my production costs, so there’s still a steep hill to climb when making the photographs and sound recordings.
The combination of these things helps to keep The LSP on the road:
- Limited Edition Print sales
- Other purchases through the shop
- Private Commissions on the road
- Monthly contributions by Print Collectors
- Monthly and one-off donations
- RNLI funding
In November 2017, there was a turning point for the Project when Jack’s Patreon page was launched.
By pledging monthly amounts in exchange for rewards, The LSP’s Patrons provide a much more stable foundation for Jack to continue making this unprecedented RNLI archive. It’s a way for the extra-keen to be extra-rewarded!
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THE LSP?
The funding goes some way to smoothing out the (sometimes terrifying) financial peaks and troughs. However, I still rely on the support of the amazing people who love following the journey and appreciate what it takes to keep it on the road.
WILL THERE BE AN EXHIBITION?
Yes. I’m building towards a major exhibition of the work once it’s all completed.
I dream of presenting the photographs and sound recordings in a huge, high profile venue. I imagine the work will be displayed in geographical order around the exhibition space with Neena (my mobile darkroom) as a centrepiece along with an All-Weather Lifeboat!
WILL THERE BE A BOOK?
Yes. I’m hoping for a a stunning coffee table book containing all the work. I’d like to include some of the sound recordings too along with fold-out maps and a foreword by someone special.
DO YOU GIVE TALKS ABOUT THE LSP?
I give regular talks all round the country. Previous venues have included photographic societies, sailing clubs, RNLI events, institutions, festivals, Apple Stores and even a cinema.
DO YOU HAVE AN ONLINE SHOP?
Yes, indeed. Sales through The Shop are the Project’s lifeblood.
Have a click on the link below where you’ll find Limited Edition Prints, the famous LSP Keyring, mugs, postcards and even clothing for children and adults:
CAN I BUY PRINTS OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS?
You certainly can. I sell Limited Edition Prints of every photograph featured in the Galleries.
Only 50 prints will ever be made from each photograph, making them truly historical artworks to be treasured.
The sale of these prints helps to fund The Lifeboat Station Project and keep it on the road.
HAVE ANY FILMS BEEN MADE ABOUT YOUR WORK?
WHO HELPS YOU MAKE THE PROJECT?
YOU MAKE SOUND RECORDINGS?
HOW OLD IS YOUR CAMERA?
The camera was made in around 1905 by Thornton Pickard in Altrincham.
However, the process I use is even older dating from 1851.
HOW DO YOU MAKE PRINTS FROM THE GLASS PLATES?
DOES THE RNLI GET ANY MONEY FROM YOU?
Not at the moment. All sales through The Shop help to fund The LSP and keep it on the road.
The RNLI is enjoying such a positive impact from The LSP that it’s currently geared the other way round — for now, the RNLI part-funds The LSP to help me make the work.
Ultimately, the RNLI will benefit financially in many ways not least from book sales once the work is complete (a percentage of the purchase price will go directly to the charity).
By way of thanks for the volunteers’ efforts, Print No.1 of the crew photograph and Print No.1 of the Coxswain/Helm portrait are donated to each lifeboat station.
Of course, as I’ve loved the RNLI since childhood, I love to hold mini-fundraisers once in a while. When appropriate, I also have a collection tin for the RNLI at my talks or a suggested donation on the door. Every now and then, I donate a proportion of certain sales to the charity. In January 2017, for example, I held a flash auction for six LSP Keyrings. All of these combined have raised hundreds of pounds.
IT LOOKS LIKE THE PROJECT’S TAKEN ITS TOLL AT TIMES. WHY NOT TAKE A REST?
WHERE DID YOU GET THE AMBULANCE?
DO YOU STAY IN THE AMBULANCE WHEN YOU’RE ON THE ROAD?
WHAT IS WET PLATE COLLODION?
WHY ARE YOU USING SUCH AN OLD PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS?
HOW DID YOU LEARN TO USE THIS PROCESS?
If you’d like to ask Jack a question or you think something should be added to this list, please get in touch: