Be The Goalposts

The LSP Society app I recently launched to connect my patrons

Every now and then, I tweet something that seems to really resonate with a wider audience and it seems a shame that those words soon evaporate into the ether.

So, to continue in the spirit of making them a more permanent resource, here are a tiny fraction of my thoughts on a topic which I posted yesterday as a Twitter thread:

I’m hearing sounds of disgruntlement from creators that Instagram are changing the goalposts yet again. Apparently, videos are now going to be heavily prioritised over stills.

So, if that’s you, here are some tips on how you can take immediate control:

When you use the big social platforms to communicate with the people who love hearing about you and your work, the conversation is never going to be on your terms.

The goalposts will always shift because, despite appearances, the platform is not about you.

Remember, you are not the customer here. You are the commodity.

As Jaron Lanier said in his TED Talk called How we need to remake the internet

“We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.”

So what can you do about it right now?

Well, you can take four simple steps by using mechanisms that have been around for a long time and are probably right under your nose already. 

I’ll briefly list them below:


Stop sending people to Insta (or FB or wherever)…send them to your website!

It’s the place you’ve probably already honed and preened for 100s of hours to look/feel the way you want it. Saying ‘find me on Insta’ used to make some sense but now it makes little sense.


Create (or rejuvenate) a newsletter.

In Do Open, David Hieatt says that newsletters are 40x more effective than other platforms — and that was then as opposed to now!

So, put a signup box on your homepage and start laser-focussing on your true fans.


Be the goalposts!

Keep your core communications as independent as possible from the big platforms.

Use Insta/FB/Twitter if:

  • you have the energy
  • you understand what they are
  • you’re happy with what they are
  • you enjoy it

But don’t rely on them!


Recognise who your ‘crowd’ really is — it may not be as large as you think. 

They’ll probably be the people who sign up to your newsletter right way rather than the rest who scroll past your work elsewhere. 

Concentrate on your true crowd. They’ll love you for it. 

That’s it. Those are my immediate tips for things you can do right now (very simplified, of course, but that’s the crux).

You don’t have to go as far as I have by building your own membership/social platform and app (pictured above)…but maybe one day!

Good luck and remember:

Be the goalposts!

Keep on keepin’ on,

Jack Lowe

Creator of The Lifeboat Station Project

Then I must make your portrait…

I told this story a few days ago on my favourite social medium, Instagram.

It received a great response, so I thought I’d tell it here too:

I’ve been working a lot on the finer details of my wet plating technique lately.

I had a beautiful afternoon tinkering on Sunday, testing my tweaks and refinements on 12×10 inch glass plates as I move ever-closer to starting The Lifeboat Station Project.

My friend and neighbour, Carole, came wandering round the corner, shopping bags in hand.

She’s very loving and enthusiastic, is Carole.

“Look at you!” she said, “…in your apron, creating wonderful things.”

“Ah, thank you, Carole. Anyway, how are you?”

She replied, “My brain tumour’s back. I’m dying now. I can feel it. It’s time for me to go.”

Obviously, that took me aback. I gave Carole a kiss and a hug and I could only think to say one thing:

“Then I must make your portrait.”

She told me she would adore that. So that’s what we did.

It was a beautiful moment and the kind that seems to keep happening in and around this process.

It engages people and that’s what I love about it. And that’s what I also love about photography…

12x10 inch Ambrotype of Carole, Newcastle upon Tyne, 23rd November 2014

12×10 inch Ambrotype of Carole, Newcastle upon Tyne, 23rd November 2014

Sunday 15th November 2015

I’m so sad to hear that Carole died in the night, almost a year since we shared this precious moment together.

Unfortunately, the photograph above is the only record of this plate as it was irreparably damaged whilst being washed afterwards — a photograph that turned out to be as ephemeral as life itself.

Even though we didn’t see each other so often, I’ll miss our colourful neighbour very much.

She was a truly special person, a character who really brought something to the party and enhanced the world for all who knew her…

Crombie’s Last Stand

I didn’t know Keith Crombie.  I’d been to his famous Jazz Café once, a long time go.

If nothing else, I gleaned this much about him — everyone seemed to have an opinion about Keith and he certainly seemed to have an opinion about everyone.

Keith Crombie's Jazz Café, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the morning of his funeral

The closed doors of Keith Crombie’s Jazz Café in Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the morning of his funeral…

Over the last year or so, I’ve been keeping tabs on a beautiful documentary my ol’ pal Duncan Davis has been been making about Keith (you might remember Duncan from this post).

Duncan had an acute awareness that making this film should be a priority, not least because Keith was knocking on in years.  Then, on 29th December 2012, Keith passed away at the age of 74.

News soon started to filter through that there was to be a horse-drawn funeral procession through the city.

There seemed to be a gentle buzz of excitement.  Everybody seemed to know about it (apart from the police, it would seem).

A fitting farewell seemed imminent for Keith, to stop Newcastle in its tracks as he slowly passed through with a jazz band and dedicated crowd following behind…

Photographed from the top of Earl Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, Keith Crombie's funeral procession passes through the city centre.

As seen from the top of Grey’s Monument on a snowy day, the horse-drawn coffin, jazz band and crowd makes its way along Grainger Street…

A fitting end for Duncan’s documentary too and I was flattered that he asked me to help film the last sequences of Crombie’s life.

While Duncan worked in and around the crowds, the perfect perching place for me this morning was surely atop the 130ft Grey’s Monument, smack bang in the city centre.

So, with the necessary permissions gained, I was allowed to climb the 162 spiral steps to capture a unique perspective on the procession.

Photographed from the top of Earl Grey's Monument, the snow descends on Newcastle after Keith Crombie's funeral procession.

The procession is over and the snow descends on Newcastle…

The views were extraordinary, of course, and the weather was icy.  The memories of seeing Keith’s horse-drawn coffin pass slowly through town to the tune of the accompanying jazz band, along with hundreds of folk, will stay with me for a long time.

I can’t wait to see the final film, which is being cut by Duncan as I write — I hope to be able to share it with you here some day soon…

— More Views from Grey’s Monument

North view towards St. James' Park from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

North view towards St. James’ Park from Grey’s Monument

South East view towards BALTIC and the Millennium Bridge from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

South East view towards BALTIC and the Millennium Bridge from Grey’s Monument

South West View from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

South West View from Grey’s Monument

A Perfect Sunday on the River Tyne

The River Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Six bridges over The River Tyne, Newcastle

A perfectly cold and crisp Sunday on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

I’ve now lived here for twelve years and remain constantly in awe of the beautiful views in around the city I now call home.

I thought you might like to see this photograph I posted on Instagram this afternoon, depicting six of the seven bridges that cross the river.

So, where’s the seventh bridge? I’m standing on it — the Millennium Bridge.

For those who like to know, this scene was captured on my iPhone 4S and processed using Snapseed.