A dream come true: My 1905 10×12″ camera poised at the top of the slipway at Cromer Lifeboat Station…
On Saturday 17th January, I found myself realising a childhood dream.
I was poised with my 10×12″ plate camera at the top of the slipway at Cromer Lifeboat Station, the North Sea lapping below.
What a place to be working, I thought.
Before composing the photograph, I just had to stand for a moment or two and fully appreciate my surroundings.
It was a photograph I’d wanted to make since I was a boy — a member of Storm Force (the RNLI’s junior membership scheme) — so it was a moment worth savouring.
It’s worthwhile considering the unseen elements to this photograph.
The huge Tamar Class Lifeboat towered over my head, just one metal hook holding it at the top of the slipway.
Release that hook and the Lifeboat roars down the slipway before crashing into the sea.
Quite a thought.
Quite a sensation too, rather similar to standing on a railway track when you know it’s perfectly possible for a train to appear at full speed. I imagine.
I’ll always remember this plate materialising under the dim red light of Neena (my mobile darkroom), holding my breath in the knowledge that this view would be a cornerstone in the Project.
After all, this is a truly iconic piece of RNLI infrastructure — the slipway at the famous Cromer Lifeboat Station.
It’s a shame I can’t show you the Ambrotype (glass plate) in the flesh. It’s truly glorious.
Hopefully, you’ll come to see it with all the other plates in an exhibition one day…
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ASIDE: THE ICING ON THE CAKE
As a little aside, one of the crew members prides himself in the history of the station.
I was incredibly touched when he handed me a newspaper clipping describing my grandfather’s visit to Cromer Lifeboat Station in 1973.
As I crouched in front of my camera at the top of the slipway, it was a moving thought to know that he’d been there too…
My warm and fond thanks to everybody at Cromer who helped me on the day.
You really gave it everything and, as a result, the photographs are truly special.