The Lifeboat Station Project is now in its fourth 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
- PRINTS and THE SHOP
- PRIVATE COMMISSIONS
- FOLLOWING THE PROJECT
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROJECT: BEHIND THE GLASS
A short film by the RNLI, released in 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 ALB Coxswain / ILB Helm portrait
These prints will be included with any print orders from the station.
If there are no orders from the station, they can be collected in due course from RNLI HQ in Poole.
In addition, I offer a 20% print discount to RNLI personnel who’d like to make purchases in the shop (see below).
There’s been an incredible amount of media attention too. I’ve put together a page of highlights here:
MISSION 16: PROPOSED ITINERARY
On this particular journey, I’d like to visit these stations on your stretch of coastline:
- 112 – WEYMOUTH: Sunday 2nd September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 113 – MUDEFORD: Tuesday 4th or Wednesday 5th September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 000 – BEMBRIDGE: Monday 10th September 2018 (REVISIT CONFIRMED)
- 114 – HASTINGS: Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 115 – RYE HARBOUR: Tuesday 18th September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 116 – DUNGENESS: Thursday 20th September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 117 – LITTLESTONE-ON-SEA: Saturday 22nd and/or Sunday 23rd September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 118 – WHITSTABLE: Tuesday 25th September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 119 – WALMER: Thursday 27th September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
- 120 – DOVER: Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2018 (CONFIRMED)
How does this sound to you? I’m happy to take your advice and feedback with regard to feasibility.
SPECIAL NOTE: THE HALFWAY MARK!
Once I’ve completed this mission at Dover, I’ll reach a very special landmark: after four years working on this labour of love, I’ll hit the halfway mark on 30th September!
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 around 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 / 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 crew photograph in the early evening (see below).
In summary, here are the suggested and approximate timings:
- 0900: Arrival;
- 0915 – 1000hrs: 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;
- 1700 – 1800hrs (BST OPTION ONLY): Crew photograph OR Coxswain / Helm portrait;
- 1800 – 2000hrs: Pack up
I hope these timing suggestions which might help in coordinating people at appropriate points?
PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS and 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 your crew;
- A portrait of the Coxswain or Helm(s) at each station;
- A group portrait of the crew.
If time and resources allow, there is also scope to make a portrait of ALB Mechanics and a group photograph of your female crew members for my Women of the RNLI collection.
Please could you let me know if there’s anybody who’d like to be involved in the latter?
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 (‘Neena’) 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.
Here are Neena’s dimensions:
- HEIGHT: 3m (9ft 8inches)
- WIDTH: 2.05m (6ft 9inches)
- LENGTH: 6.5m (21ft 6inches)
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!
Lately, crew members have also been kindly putting me/us up in their own homes, which has been excellent…not least as it keeps costs down.
You may already be aware that I make sound recordings. If you see me with a microphone, I’ll be gathering material for my podcast called Postcards from the Coast.
If there’s someone you think I should speak to about life at the station, do let me know.
It could be a current or former crew member, or even somebody affiliated to the station in some other way. I’m interested in dialects, rescue stories and specialist local knowledge.
You can listen to previous episodes of Postcards from the Coast here:
PRINTS and THE SHOP: RNLI DISCOUNT
My ultimate aim is to make a book and exhibition of the work. In the meantime, there’s an opportunity to buy stunning Limited Edition Prints of the photographs.
Each print is limited to 50 and, remember, I donate print No.1 of the crew photograph and the ALB Coxswain / ILB Helm portrait to the station by way of thanks.
Many volunteers request their crew number from the edition, which is a wonderful finishing touch to an artwork that will be treasured for years to come.
The discounted print price for RNLI Personnel is £132 per print if the station clubs together and orders a minimum of ANY three prints from the Project (normal price £195).
I’ll email full instructions on how to order prints once the photographs are online and ready to order.
If you would like to purchase anything from The LSP Shop be sure to use the following code when you checkout:
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:
FOLLOWING THE PROJECT
I’ve been overwhelmed by the reactions from the 100 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:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
And finally, here’s a link to a brand new page answering questions that are frequently asked about my work:
I’ve been overwhelmed by the reactions from the 111 stations who’ve already been involved.
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: