After working in photography for my entire adult life, there’s one only one thing that’s remained constant:
The ability to quickly adapt is a vital skill for the self-employed and, as the pandemic landed on our shores last year, it would perhaps be the biggest change of all.
When the RNLI informed me that I would have to pause my journey on 16th March last year, it seemed inconceivable that we wouldn’t be reviewing the situation until 30th April, some six weeks later.
Of course, I understood — and totally agreed with — the reasons for pausing my travels but it was hard to keep thoughts like this from running through my mind:
“Six weeks! How can I possibly keep things going for six weeks?”
As we all now know, six weeks proved to be the least of it. Yet it soon became an invaluable period to not only pause the journey but to pause my whirring brain — to truly take stock and reflect on the project’s foundations after five intense years documenting the RNLI lifeboat community.
If you’ve been patient enough to follow the story during that time, you may remember that the biggest epiphany came when I finally realised that certain big platforms simply did not sit well with my moral compass or with the ethos of The Lifeboat Station Project. Nor were they my best use of time or good for my mental wellbeing.
When I controversially stopped using Facebook-owned platforms on 7th June last year, it was suggested that I should build my own platform and app.
I laughed it off at the time because the notion seemed ridiculous. Yet the suggestions were serious.
As the pandemic progressed, my thinking cap was put through its paces simply to survive and keep a roof over our heads. I’m sure it will have been the same for many of you too.
The cat was really put among the gulls with the next realisation that Patreon was becoming a similar beast to Facebook — the final catalyst required for me to actually do something about it and, as is often the case with the project, my vision for the path ahead became crystal clear.
Within that clarity, I had no qualms about ignoring any voices telling me I was short-sighted.
To summarise the timeline, I launched the project’s independent membership platform in November 2020 during Lockdown 2. I called it The LSP Society.
At the time, I described it as “one of the most progressive steps I’ve made on the entire journey”.
But then I went a stage further in April (during Lockdown 3) by launching The Boathouse — the independent social platform for LSP Society members.
And now, I’m extremely pleased to tell you that this particular path of reinvention is complete with today’s announcement of the LSP Society app.
That little icon on my iPhone’s home screen is the product of yet more hard graft and learning.
It’s taken weeks to get to grips with the process of building an app and I would only recommend it if you’re prepared to be utterly patient because you’ll be jumping through countless hoops along the way!
The Android version sailed through the approval process a couple of days ago, which left me hanging on tenterhooks for news of the iOS version.
When I checked my emails this morning, I was so elated to see the confirmation from Apple that I’d been waiting for.
With both versions approved and free to download, I feel I can finally move on from this latest chapter of reinvention and set my sights on resuming my travels in September with The LSP’s foundations infinitely more sound than when the journey was paused last year.
In truth, I may not have embarked on the app path if I knew just how challenging it would be. But that’s also true for the membership platform, the social platform and, of course, The Lifeboat Station Project itself!
Suddenly, though, it is now done and I’m extremely proud of it — not just because it looks good and seems to be working well but because I hope it is a beacon for other creators who may be reading these words.
To my mind, it’s an illustration that there is another way in a world where Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Patreon fashion themselves as it.
If you don’t like being beholden to big platforms, I’m sure many of you will have it within you to redirect your energies from the norm and work out how to own your story once again and share it on your terms, just as I have done over recent months.
I don’t know how many creators have an independent membership and social platform to connect their supporters but, a year after stepping away from Facebook and Instagram, I’m proud to be among them.
Now, I think it’s high time to start preparing my mobile darkroom and to share the adventures in a brand new way…
JOIN THE LSP SOCIETY AND DOWNLOAD THE APP
By joining The LSP Society, you’ll be supporting the project as I prepare to resume my travels after such a challenging time.
Full membership starts from £1 per month.
Pledge whatever you’re comfortable with to access extra films, audio recordings, blog posts, online talks and, of course, the new app:
- Our ad-free social platform;
- The best place to follow my coastal odyssey;
- An easy way to connect with me and other members;
- A safe place to contribute your own pictures and stories;
- My promise that none of your data will be shared with any advertisers or third parties, ever!
The LSP Society app is free is to download once you’ve signed up — you’ll find iOS and Android links in your welcome email and in the Members’ Area.
Full details here:
1. If you enjoyed this post, please click the lifeboat orange heart below to say you were here and feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.
2. If you think this would be of interest to others, please share it using the buttons below.
3. This is a public blog post — there’s much more to see in the Members’ Area of The LSP Society.
4. If you know somebody else who would enjoy being a member of The LSP Society, you can now gift them membership here!
5. If you haven’t perused the website for a while, head to the homepage for a fresh look.
6. Head to The LSP Shop for prints, posters, postcards, the famous With Courage keyring and more.
7. Finally, if you have any questions about my work, please feel free to contact me.