Photo gallery: “To me this is six seconds in the life of Cromer slip way” - photographer makes it his mission to visit every RNLI station in the British Isles

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograp

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograph the station crew using a process called wet plate collodion which is over 100 years old. Photo by Mark Bullimore

A photographer has made it his mission to capture all 237 RNLI lifeboat stations across the British Isles using a 110-year-old camera.

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograp

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograph the station crew using a process called wet plate collodion which is over 100 years old. Photo by Mark Bullimore

Jack Lowe, grandson of Dad's Army actor Arthur Lowe, was at a string of East Anglian lifeboat stations to picture crews and views in the first week of his journey.

Instead of a modern digital camera, Newcastle photographer Mr Lowe, 39, used a method borrowed from the Victorians, capturing the images on plates of glass.

The Lifeboat Station Project is expected to last three to five years and involves an epic tour of all 237 RNLI Lifeboat Stations in Britain and Ireland. The final results will be showcased at an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich, London, with images hung in geographical sequence.

Mr Lowe visited Happisburgh lifeboat station on Thursday, Cromer station on Saturday and Sheringham yesterday.

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograp

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograph the station crew using a process called wet plate collodion which is over 100 years old. Photo by Mark Bullimore


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At Cromer, he used an exposure of about six seconds to capture the view from the station, and four seconds to photograph the crew.

He said: 'It is like a time capsule. To me this is six seconds in the life of Cromer slip way.

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'In the group shot their hearts will be beating during the exposure. It is not just a digital snap, there will be thought processes going on.'

Travelling in his decommissioned NHS ambulance, bought on eBay for £2,500, which acts as a portable dark room, Mr Lowe hopes to promote the RNLI through his work.

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograp

Photographer Jack Lowe who's visiting ever Lifeboat station the UK and ROI is at Cromer to photograph the station crew using a process called wet plate collodion which is over 100 years old. Photo by Mark Bullimore

To take on the project, Mr Lowe left his successful print-making business and with no sponsorship, has self-funded the mission.

'I am jumping off a cliff,' he said. 'Print making was a successful business, but I am following my heart now. This is important to me.

'I have been an RNLI fan since I was eight years old. I see it as pulling a needle and thread around the country, documenting a unique piece of British culture.'

Mr Lowe uses the same technique and is inspired by 19th century-photographer Roger Fenton, who photographed the Crimean War in the 1850s.

Richard Leeds, Cromer Lifeboat operations manager, said: 'It is great to be photographed in a traditional way.

'The station is 200 years old so some of the old boys standing for a photograph back then would have been standing for up to 30 seconds on the seafront.'

After the project has been completed, the prints will be available to buy.

To find out more about the Lifeboat Station Project, which has been endorsed by the RNLI, visit www.lifeboatstationproject.com

Are you taking on an unusual project? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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