The Lifeboat Station Project — a huge, unprecedented photographic portrayal of the RNLI — is now in its third year.
If possible, I’d like to visit your station soon.
On this page, you should find everything you need to know under these (clickable) headings:
- PROPOSED ITINERARY
- PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS & AIMS
- OTHER LOGISTICS
- ACCOMMODATION REQUEST
- ORDERING PRINTS (including your RNLI discount)
- PRIVATE COMMISSIONS
- TRACKING THE PROJECT
BEHIND THE GLASS
A short film by the RNLI, released October 2016
Ultimately, there will be a book and exhibition of all the photographs. Both are set to be huge fundraisers for the RNLI.
In the meantime, I’m releasing edition prints of the work, the sales of which help to fund the Project and keep it on the road.
As a thank you for the help I receive, I donate two prints to each station that I visit:
- Print No.1 of the Crew photograph
- Print No.1 of the Coxswain / Helm portrait
In addition, I offer a 20% print discount to RNLI personnel (see below).
There’s been an incredible amount of media attention too. I’ve put together a page of highlights here:
MISSION 13: PROPOSED ITINERARY
As you may have gleaned from the 2015 Ops Circular, I shall be visiting every Lifeboat Station in the UK and Republic of Ireland over the next few years.
On this particular journey, I’d like to visit the stations on your stretch of coastline:
- BURNHAM-ON-CROUCH: Crew Portrait, Saturday 3rd June 2017 (confirmed)
- 83 – MARGATE: Monday 5th June 2017 (confirmed)
- 84 – RAMSGATE: Tuesday 6th March 2017 (confirmed)
- WELLS-NEXT-THE-SEA: RNLB Lucy Lavers, Thursday 8th June 2017 (confirmed)
- 85 – FILEY: Sunday 11th June 2017 (to be confirmed)
- 86 – SCARBOROUGH: Tuesday 13th June 2017 (confirmed)
- 87 – WHITBY: Thursday 15th June 2017 (confirmed)
- 88 – STAITHES and RUNSWICK: Saturday 17th June 2017 (confirmed)
Would this be convenient? I’m happy to take your advice and feedback with regard to feasibility.
If all goes well, each photograph takes about 1 hour to make.
Therefore, I need about an hour of the crew’s time when making their group photograph and an hour or so from the Coxswain/Senior Helm when making his/her portrait.
I would like to arrive at the station just before 9am. It’ll take me a little while to setup, after which I’d like to make the first photograph on my list — the view (where possible) from the station.
That way, once I know that the ancient process is working as it should, I’ll then be ready to make the second and third photographs.
I’m usually ready to make the Coxswain / Senior Helm portrait at around 11:30am and the Crew portrait around 1pm (or vice versa).
During British Summertime Hours, there is also the option of making the a photograph in the early evening (see below).
In summary (all timings approximate):
- 0900 – 1000hrs: Arrival and setup;
- 1000 – 1100hrs: Make the photograph of the view from your station;
- 1130 – 1230hrs: Coxswain / Helm portrait OR Crew photograph;
- 1300 – 1400hrs: Crew photograph OR Coxswain / Helm portrait;
- 1500 – 1600hrs: Perhaps another photograph of the station view as the light dwindles;
- 1600 – 1700hrs (GMT): Pack up;
- 1700 – 1900hrs (BST ONLY): Crew photograph OR Coxswain / Helm portrait;
- 1800 – 2000hrs (BST): Pack up
I hope these timing suggestions which might help in coordinating people at appropriate points?
PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS & AIMS
Travelling in my mobile darkroom (a decommissioned NHS ambulance), I use an ancient process known as Wet Plate Collodion to make photographs on glass. Working just as the Victorians used to between the 1850s and 1880s — right at the time when the RNLI was incorporated under Royal Charter — I even use a 1905 camera and lens.
During each station visit, I would like to make three finished 12×10 inch glass plates:
- The view from the station (or as near as possible) of the waters protected by each RNLI station;
- A portrait of the Coxswain or Helm(s) at each station;
- A group portrait of the crew.
The process isn’t as fast as modern-day digital imaging, so it requires a degree of time and patience from all those involved (see timings below).
However, Wet Plate Collodion is fascinating, poignant, magical and beautiful — I’m more than happy for people to watch as I make the plates.
Perhaps you could let me know about any quirks with regard to your particular station and confirm for me the type of Lifeboat(s) and launching method?
It’s also worth noting that I need to park the ambulance close to the boathouse in order to keep the distance from camera to vehicle as short as possible for my processing needs. Please do let me know if there will be any issues to consider on that front.
If you think there’s anything I’ve overlooked, I’m all ears!
If you have any good suggestions for local accommodation, they’d be gratefully received.
I tend to prefer Guest Houses as opposed to hotels — if they’re run by somebody in the RNLI community, then all the better!
THE LSP SHOP: RNLI DISCOUNT
If you would like to purchase anything from The LSP Shop (including pre-ordering prints from your own station) be sure to use the following code when you checkout:
RNLI personnel should feel free to club together using the ‘COLLECTION OF THREE PRINTS’ option (found on every ordering page) in conjunction with the discount code for even greater savings.
Pre-order prints now to secure the lowest edition numbers:
I’m very happy to undertake private commissions, which are now being requested more and more as I make my way around the coastline.
Find out how to commission your portrait on this dedicated page:
TRACKING THE PROJECT
I’ve been overwhelmed by the reactions from the 80+ stations who’ve already been involved.
You can track the Project as it takes shape on the Mission Map and via the usual Social Media channels:
I’m aware that gathering the crew may not be the easiest logistical exercise when they’re not required for a shout. However, as the Project progresses, I’m finding that the RNLI Family are feeling they’re taking part in something very special.
I shall look forward to hearing from you soon.
Please reply using the email that brought you to this page or use the Contact Form here: