My New Big Idea


THE QUICKER READ

(longer read below)


Inspired by the work of Agnès Varda and JR, I’m embarking on a new dimension to The Lifeboat Station Project.

Lifeboat stations are still closed to the public and my visits remain paused by the RNLI for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, it won’t be long before the light starts to wane again (September is the last month I can practically work on the coast with such an old photographic process).

So, I’m planning to take my photographs back to the towns where I created them to make open air exhibitions for the community, pasting huge prints to buildings and structures — uplifting, heartwarming events around the coast, continuing the ethos and success of the project so far.

The original glass plates are 12×10 inches but the featured poster measures 12×10 feet!

The series of exhibitions will shine a light on the greatness of the lifeboat volunteers in a whole new way, reminding onlookers that these brave, selfless people are at the heart of their community and walk among them.

Such an exhibition will be safe and appropriate to the times — outdoors with social distancing easily observed and maintained.

WITH COURAGE…

I’m calling it the With Courage Exhibition — a title that reflects the nature of my new exhibitions and the difficult times we’re all navigating.

The title also ties in with the words that have inspired lifeboat volunteers for nearly 200 years, Sir William Hillary’s famous quote when he founded the RNLI in 1824:

“With courage, nothing is impossible”

IMAGINE…

Imagine a portrait of a Coxswain looking out to sea from a gable end or a crew portrait given pride of place on a Town Hall.

This has magnificent potential in so many ways: halls, walls, town halls, houses, lighthouses, warehouses, silos, cylinders, containers, steps, harbours, workshops, yards…

…and I don’t mind if an exhibition is several photographs or just one. A single huge poster in a great location could be more powerful and engaging than many smaller ones dotted about.

We are only limited by our imagination.


John Davies, Cromer RNLI Coxswain, 12×10 inch Clear Glass Ambrotype, March 2015

What’s more, the With Courage Exhibition doesn’t just have to be in the towns where the photographs were originally made.

For example, I’m very aware of the huge support for the RNLI and my project in landlocked locations all over the country.

In short, if you’ve got some great potential locations and would like to help me bring a slice of the project to you, get in touch and we can start the ball rolling.

Of course, we’ll need the relevant permissions and perhaps the help of local plant hire companies with scaffolding, cherry-pickers or scissor lifts in order to work safely at height — if you can help with any of those things too, then all the better!

HELP MAKE IT HAPPEN

If you’d like to get behind The Lifeboat Station Project and the With Courage Exhibition, check out the new Posters page here:

POSTERS

I’m also asking my online community to pledge a small amount of money to help fund the With Courage Exhibition.

It’s a wonderfully simple and symbiotic notion, avoiding the need for corporate involvement with logos plastered about the place. After all, it’s an exhibition for the people, about the people in times when I believe simplicity, humanity and community spirit are key.

I already have well over 300 committed patrons but I’m going to need many more to make this work.

If you’d like join hundreds of like-minded folk helping to fund The Lifeboat Station Project, please pledge whatever you’re comfortable with from £1.20 per month by clicking here (a place where you’ll also gain instant access to 100+ patron-only posts):

BECOME A PATRON

To learn about all the other ways to support The Lifeboat Station Project, head to this page:

BECOME A SUPPORTER

And if you’d like to learn more about how this all came about and how you can bring the With Courage Exhibition to your town, please read on…


THE LONGER READ


These are tricky times to navigate. This we know and, as a self-employed creator, I’ve had to have my thinking cap on more than ever.

After all, I’ve thrown my heart and soul into making The Lifeboat Station Project full-time for nearly six years, so I’m not about to let it slip through my fingers.

Lifeboat stations are still closed to the public and my visits remain paused by the RNLI for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, it won’t be long before the light starts to wane again (September is the last month I can practically work on the coast with such an old photographic process).


The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe
Dungeness RNLI lifeboat volunteers, 12×10 inch Clear Glass Ambrotype, September 2018

Therefore, as I’m unable to make new work in the ways I’ve been doing so far, I’ve had to invent different ways to progress The Lifeboat Station Project.

On the face of it, that’s a big ask but I’m sure you’ve come to learn that I thrive on a challenge!

After lots of thinking and researching different avenues throughout lockdown, I’ve hit upon a rich new seam of inspiration.

BUBBLE MONDAYS

Mondays have recently (and determinedly) become a regular rest day for me. No emails, social media or business phone calls.

By creating this forward anchor (a rest day that I know is coming and a great comfort to a man with a whirring brain), my mental wellbeing has improved enormously.

With a peaceful bubble around me for just one day a week, it allows me to pause and let new things into my life for which there might not otherwise have been space.

For example, on Monday 27th July I finally made the time to watch Visages Villages, a film a new acquaintance sent to me once he’d returned to Switzerland.

Although my French has become a bit rusty over the years, I thought I’d give it a go.

As I watched it, I experienced what I can only really describe as an epiphany.

The English subtitled version is called Faces Places and you can find it on Netflix. I’ve now watched both versions!

Have a look at the trailer and you might begin to see what started running through my mind…

…and then this TED Talk by JR in 2011:

In watching these, it dawned on me that I could take my photographs back to the towns where I created them to make open air exhibitions for the community by pasting huge prints to the walls of buildings — uplifting, heartwarming events around the coast, continuing the ethos and success of the project so far.

Such an exhibition would be safe and appropriate to the times — in the open air with social distancing easily observed and maintained.

My lightbulb moment would also shine a light on the local lifeboat volunteers in a whole new way, reminding onlookers that these brave, selfless people are at the heart of their community and walk among them.

It would also add yet another magnificent layer to my project, possibly extending its life far beyond its completion.

RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION

After my epiphany whilst watching Faces Places, I was buzzing with new thoughts and possibilities, all the while learning how to make poster prints to paste to walls.

Remember, I still have the big printer from my 12 year chapter as a printmaker. Its capabilities have been under-used over the last few years as the limited edition prints I make with it nowadays are much smaller than its full printing width of 44 inches.

And, keen to use organic materials, I’ve been researching wheat paste recipes on YouTube then making small prints, which I’ve trialled by pasting to our yard wall!

I soon landed on a great combination of flour, water and sugar — a recipe that I intend to share when this is all underway.

FROM INCHES TO FEET

Hard to believe that, within 10 days, I’d already turned inches into feet with my very first 12×10 feet paste-up of the Wells lifeboat volunteers, the print featured in the time lapse video above and made with Hen’s help on 5th August.

The impact of such a huge print on the wall is even better than I could have imagined and it gave me goosebumps to see a huge artefact from the project nestled in the public domain for the first time…


HELP MAKE IT HAPPEN


As I mentioned in more detail above, I’m asking for help from my online community to help fund the With Courage Exhibition from just £1.20 per month.

Please pledge whatever you’re comfortable with here:

BECOME A PATRON

Learn more about all the other ways you can support my work:

BECOME A SUPPORTER

…and if you can help me bring the With Courage Exhibition to your town, please drop me a line to get the ball rolling:

CONTACT JACK


There’s one more simple way to support The Lifeboat Station Project — by purchasing the famous With Courage Keyring.

This classic item is clipped to hundreds of lifeboat volunteers’ emergency pagers and it can become a piece of daily inspiration for you too:

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe

WITH COURAGE KEYRING


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


In the mood for learning more? I answer some frequently asked questions about my project here:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

4 Comments

  1. I really love this so much Jack. I think you should be able to to get ACE funding for this, and partners. etc – If you want to chat happy to talk. ps ThroughOurLens OurStreetGallery is inspired by JR too x

  2. I am impressed by your work! You are a great talent! I wish you good luck

Leave a Reply to Videlina Skrachkova Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: