The Lifeboat Station Project is a 10-year project documenting all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland.
I’ve now visited 158 lifeboat stations and am in the 8th year of The LSP.
The project is almost entirely funded by print sales and the support of members of The LSP Society.
If possible, I’d like to visit your station soon as part of a 10 day run of 5 lifeboat stations.
You should find everything you need to know by scrolling down this page.
I appreciate there’s a lot of information but I’ve aimed to make it as concise as possible under these clickable headings:
- THE PROJECT IN 1 MINUTE
- COVID CONSIDERATIONS
- PROPOSED ITINERARY
- PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS & AIMS
- OTHER LOGISTICS
- PRIVATE COMMISSIONS
- ACCOMMODATION REQUEST
- SOUND RECORDINGS
- PRINTS & THE LSP SHOP
- TRACKING THE PROJECT
- THE LSP SOCIETY
- YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
- CONTACT JACK
THE PROJECT IN 1 MINUTE
5th anniversary film by the RNLI in 2019
Galleries: The photographs made so far
Mission 22 | July 2022
On this leg of the journey, I’m proposing to visit the stations listed below.
I’m happy to take your advice and feedback with regard to feasibility. If the date is unsuitable, please let me know and I’ll do my best to make it work as best as possible for your station:
- 159 – WORKINGTON: Thursday 7th July 2022 [CONFIRMED]
- 160 – ST BEES: Sunday 10th July 2022 [TO BE CONFIRMED]
- 161 – SILLOTH: Tuesday 12th July 2022 [TO BE CONFIRMED]
- 162 – KIPPFORD: Thursday 14th July 2022 [TO BE CONFIRMED]
- 163 – KIRKCUDBRIGHT: Sunday 17th July 2022 [TO BE CONFIRMED]
With regard to health and safety considerations in the context of the pandemic, the vast bulk of my work during any station visit is outdoors.
However, these are my proposals to make my visit to your station as safe as possible:
- Crew members should only stand close to one another during the few minutes when I’m composing the photograph (wearing masks if necessary);
- When I dash off to prepare my glass plate for any given photograph, crew members should remember/mark their position for the photograph and stand at least one metre apart while they wait for me to return (usually around 8-10 minutes);
- Unfortunately, crew will no longer be able to stand inside Neena (my mobile darkroom) to watch while I process the plates, although I can show you the final and most dramatic part of the process outside.
In addition to the above, we may need to set a perimeter/barrier for any spectators. From experience, onlookers generally do a good job of keeping a respectful distance anyway but it is still something I/we would need to consider.
I carry traffic cones and barrier tape in case they’re required.
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS & AIMS
Travelling in my mobile darkroom (a decommissioned NHS ambulance), I use a Nineteenth Century process called wet plate collodion to make photographs on glass. I work 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 at ground level (or as near as possible);
- A portrait of the ALB Coxswain or ILB Helm(s) at each station;
- A portrait of the ALB Station Mechanic;
- A group portrait of the crew.
If time and resources allow, I also like to make a group photograph of your female crew to champion the Women of the RNLI.
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 a fascinating, poignant and magical process, which I’m sure you’ll agree is worth the extra timed effort when it comes to making this historic project.
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 old photographic process is working as it should, I’m then ready to make the rest of the photographs (see below).
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.
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:
- ALB Coxswain — Individual portrait
- ALB Station Mechanic — Individual portrait
- ILB 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
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!
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:PRIVATE COMMISSIONS
I usually stay for two nights during my time at each lifeboat station, arriving the day before my visit and leaving the day after.
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!
You may already be aware that I make sound recordings. If you see me with a microphone, I’ll be gathering material for this extra dimension to the project.
You can listen to some examples here:AUDIO
PRINTS & THE LSP SHOP
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 make limited edition prints of the work, the sales of which help to fund the project and keep it on the road.
Print sales and The LSP Society are my main method of funding the project.
Each print is limited to 50 and, as a thank you for your help, 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.
If the station clubs together and orders a minimum of ANY three prints from the project, the discounted price for RNLI Personnel and their families is £125 per print (the price to the public is £195).
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.
I’ll email full instructions on how to order prints once the photographs are online and ready to order.
I also offer a 20% print discount to RNLI crew and their families who’d like to make other purchases in the project’s online shop.
If you would like to purchase anything else from, please use the following code when you checkout:
Shop TIPS FOR BUYING PRINTS
THE LSP SOCIETY
The LSP Society is a place where the public and lifeboat crew support my project on a monthly basis.
The Members’ Area contains extra films, audio recordings, blog posts and online talks, and the LSP Society app is the best way to follow the project.
Full membership starts from £1 per month. I’d love to see you there:THE LSP SOCIETY
TRACKING THE PROJECT
Keep track of the project via the Newsletter, Twitter and The LSP Society app
SIGNUP TO THE NEWSLETTERTHE LSP SOCIETY
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Here’s a link to a page answering questions that are frequently asked about my work:YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Over the years, I’ve been overwhelmed by the reactions from the 158 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 and I hope you’ll feel that way too.
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:Contact Jack
My phone number is: