The Lifeboat Station Project is an 8 year art project funded by my supporters and print sales.
I’m now in the 6th year and, 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
- PRIVATE COMMISSIONS
- ACCOMMODATION REQUEST
- PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS & AIMS
- OTHER LOGISTICS
- PRINTS and THE SHOP
- FOLLOWING THE PROJECT
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
5TH ANNIVERSARY FILM BY THE RNLI
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 limited 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.1/50 of the Crew photograph
- Print No.1/50 of the ALB Coxswain / ILB Helms portrait
These prints will be included with any print orders from the station.
If there are no orders from the station, they will be delivered in due course.
In addition, I offer a 20% print discount to RNLI crew and their families who’d like to make other 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 20, MARCH / APRIL 2020: PROPOSED ITINERARY
On this leg of the journey, I’m proposing to cover the whole of Northern Ireland and two Scottish stations:
- 148 – SALCOMBE : Friday 6 March 2020 (CONFIRMED)
- 149 – PLYMOUTH: Tuesday 10 March 2020 (CONFIRMED)
- 150 – DART: Sunday 15 March 2020 (CONFIRMED)
- 151 – TORBAY: Tuesday 17 March 2020 (POSTPONED)
- 152 – TEIGNMOUTH: Thursday 19 March 2020 (POSTPONED)
- 153 – LYME REGIS: Saturday 21 March 2020 (POSTPONED)
- 154 – ALDERNEY: Tues 24 / Weds 25 March 2020 (POSTPONED)
- 155 – ST PETER PORT: Wednesday 1 April 2020 (POSTPONED)
- 156 – ST CATHERINE: Sat 4 and/or Sun 5 April 2020 (POSTPONED)
- 157 – ST HELIER: Tuesday 7 April 2020 (POSTPONED)
How does this sound to you? I’m happy to take your advice and feedback with regard to feasibility.
Here are some typical approximate timings for a station visit:
- 0900: Arrival
- 0915 – 1000hrs: Setup
- 1000 – 1100hrs: Photograph the view from your station
- 1130 – 1700hrs: Make the rest of the scheduled photographs*
- 1700 – 1830hrs: Option for further photography during BST**
- 1800 – 2000hrs: Pack up unless staying for an extra day
* Scheduled photographs include:
- Coxswain — Individual portrait (ALB stations)
- Mechanic — Individual portrait (ALB stations)
- Helms — Group photograph (ILB stations)
- Crew — Group photograph (ALB and ILB stations)
- Women — Group photograph (ALB and ILB stations)
** This slot usually works well on weekdays for the crew photograph
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 from the station.
Once I know that the Victorian process is working as it should, I’ll then be ready to make the rest of the photographs.
I’m usually ready to make the first portrait at around 11:30am.
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/Helms/Women when making his/her/their portrait.
During British Summer Time, there is also the option of making the crew photograph in the early evening.
On a final note, I’m also happy to make photographs the following morning before packing up and moving on to the next station.
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:
I usually stay for two nights during my time at each lifeboat station, arriving the day before my visit and leaving the day after.
Lately, crew members have kindly been putting me/us up in their own homes, which has been excellent particularly as it keeps costs down.
However, if that’s not possible, any good suggestions for local accommodation would be gratefully received.
I tend to prefer Guest Houses close to the station — if they’re run by somebody in the RNLI community, then all the better!
PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS and AIMS
Travelling in my mobile darkroom (a decommissioned NHS ambulance), I use an old 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.
During each station visit, I would like to photograph:
- The view from the boathouse doors (or as near as possible) of the waters protected by your crew;
- A portrait of the Coxswain (ALB stations) or Helm(s) (ILB stations) 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 above).
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 my mobile darkroom 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 my vehicle’s dimensions:
- HEIGHT: 3m (9ft 8inches)
- WIDTH: 2.05m (6ft 9inches)
- LENGTH: 6.5m (21ft 6inches)
- WEIGHT: 3.8 tonnes
If you think there’s anything I’ve overlooked, I’m all ears!
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.
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.
Print sales are my main method of funding the project.
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 and their families is £125 per print (normal price to the public £195) if the station clubs together and orders a minimum of ANY three prints from the project .
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 else from The LSP Shop be sure to use the following code when you checkout:
FOLLOWING THE PROJECT
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 136 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: