New Print: Peel Island

In August last year, I wrote a post entitled The Lake District and I.

One of the photographs from that camping trip has always stuck in my mind — the view over Peel Island (of Swallows and Amazons fame) on Coniston Water.

Peel Island, Coniston Water, 2012 by Jack Lowe

Over a year on, I’ve finally made the time to work on the print of this photograph, one that encapsulates so many of my experiences and feelings about the Lake District.

Largely, as you can see from the sky, I guess those feelings tend to revolve around an imminent drenching.

Indeed, at the time, I mentioned beauty in dankness.

For those who don’t know — if you’re vaguely dry in the Lake District, it’s about to rain. If you’re soaked to the skin, it’s raining already…

If you’d like a stunning signed, numbered and embossed Archival Pigment Print of this photograph, you can purchase yours from my Lake District Collection.

England, Scotland and Berwick

Almost as far North as you can possibly journey within the bounds of England lies Berwick upon Tweed, nestled just a couple of miles from the Scottish border.

On Saturday, I made the 65 mile rail journey north with a friend to see Paul Kenny’s latest show open at The Berwick Watchtower.

As we wandered the streets of this garrison town, the sensations we experienced were odd and uneasy, enough for us to discuss it regularly throughout the day…

The mouth of the River Tweed — Berwick on the left to the North East and Tweedmouth on the right to the South West...

The mouth of the River Tweed — Berwick on the left to the North East and Tweedmouth on the right to the South West…

On the face of it, Berwick is pretty. However, it doesn’t take too long to sense a melancholy and fatigue hanging over the town.

There are small pockets where this isn’t the case but, overall, Berwick certainly appears to be a very northern outpost burdened with a tangible raw edge, perhaps the bleeding edge of the ongoing economic crisis.

Buildings look tired with many high street shops closing or, indeed, closed down. Local estate agents, too, seem awash with property for sale.

There is, however, plenty to admire as some of the architecture is stunning, not least the beautifully named Royal Border Bridge — a vital artery carrying the East Coast Mainline, connecting this remote town at high speed with the rest of the country.

The Royal Tweed bridge over the River Tweed, joining Berwick upon Tweed with Tweedmouth

The Royal Tweed road bridge — an East Coast Mainline train heads to London over the Royal Border Bridge in the distance…

To my mind, Berwick’s outpost feel is largely due to its geography, eclectic history and confused identity where, in the modern era, one can still be left wondering, “Is Berwick Scottish or English?”

Embroiled in bitter, bloody border wars for so many years, it’s hard to know.

The Tweed boils beneath the Old Bridge at Berwick upon Tweed

The Tweed boils beneath the Old Bridge…

Technically, Berwick is English after the most recent capture in 1482 but that’s not always been the case.

In fact, it was even recently pondered whether or not Berwick was technically at war with Russia after it was ‘left out’ of the conclusion to the Crimean War in the 1856 Treaty of Paris!

Perhaps you can now begin to see why I describe an eclectic history?

Not helping matters, Berwick Rangers FC remains the only English football club in the land to compete in the Scottish Football League.

Railway Street, Berwick upon Tweed

My kinda street…

All-in-all, an unconventional day out and one to get the cogs turning.

Paul’s show, of course, look resplendent — his Seaworks so appropriately on display at the coast.

Ultimately, though, it was time to journey home and leave this very northern outpost behind, carrying plenty of feelings to digest and thoughts to ponder about this quirky nation of ours…

Berwick upon Tweed Railway Station

Home time — a train rushes through the pretty railway station at Berwick upon Tweed…

The Draw of the Sea

There’s something about the sea, isn’t there? Something stirring and primordial; to gaze out to the distant horizon is so many things to so many people.

Solace, hope, comfort, adventure and inspiration all spring to mind.

How many times have you driven along a coastline and seen people of all ages taking a stroll or simply sitting on a bench, looking so relaxed in a trance-like state as they stare wistfully towards the horizon?

How many times have you done just that yourself?

Tynemouth 1, Photography by Jack Lowe

Tynemouth No.1

The draw of the sea is strong within my soul. At the moment, it’s not fully nurtured. I miss being among the waves and long to return to my love of sea kayaking some time soon.

Way back when, my father enjoyed a spell in the Merchant Navy and was also a deep sea diver in the North Sea.

Indeed, we spent the first few years of my life living on a beautiful old boat, so I’m sure these are just some of the clues that point to why I love the watery stuff so much.

A while back, I was invited to make a photograph on the theme of emotion for an NSPCC charity auction being held at the The Old Truman Brewery in London.

My choice of subject? To return to my birth town, Aberdeen, and photograph the sea…

Aberdeen, Photography by Jack Lowe

Aberdeen

— My First Photo Book

On seeing his beautiful show at The Zelda Cheatle Gallery, the first photo book I ever bought was The Shipping Forecast by Mark Power.

The cover image still holds the same attraction to me now as it did then…

On the institution of the BBC’s Shipping Forecast, David Chandler writes in the foreword:

“The forecast stirs our residual contact with the sublime, our fading sense of epic scenarios, places where great, life-threatening forces are continually unleashed and where nature’s vengeful power always hovers over the horizon.”

Stirring words that certainly tap into my psyche, capturing the essence of what I still love about Power’s body of work.

— The Sea Collection

Sunrise at Llanbedrog, Lleyn Peninsula, Wales, Photography by Jack Lowe

Llanbedrog Sunrise

The Cobb, Photography by Jack Lowe

The Cobb

As you might imagine, I’ve made many nautical photographs over the years.

You can browse and purchase my Archival Pigment Prints of the sea by clicking here.

Each print is made, signed and embossed by me, shipped to your door to provide a new window through which to wistfully gaze…

Digital Archival Pigment Print of Llanbedrog on the Lleyn Peninsula by Jack Lowe

‘Llanbedrog Sunrise’ from The Sea Collection

— Further Inspiration

Here’s a short film that I’ve always loved, Dark Side of the Lens, and one I’m sure you’ll enjoy too:

“Subtle glimpses of magic others might pass by…something worth remembering with a photograph or a scar.” — Dark Side of the Lens

 

— The RNLI, Saving Lives at Sea

A final word…

You might well have guessed by now that my favourite charity is the RNLI.

As an island nation, the dedicated volunteers around our coastline are vital to ensuring the safety of those at sea for whatever reason.

I’ve been a fan of them since I was a boy. I loved this clip they posted of the Plymouth Lifeboat heading out on a shout in a Storm Force 10 gale at the back end of last year.

Hold tight…!

Sunday Touchline

A short tangent on a Sunday…

It may feel like a bit of a drag getting out of bed on a Sunday morning sometimes, especially knowing that I’ll be spending the first hour or two of the day standing on a cold touchline (albeit in support of one of my children).

However, as an added incentive, it’s worth me remembering that some of the football clubs are in pretty good locations.

I had a feeling that I should carry a camera with me today as we made the 40 mile journey north to Longhoughton — a small village in the wilds of Northumberland where the football ground nestles beside the East Coast Mainline…

East Coast Mainline Train Passing Longhoughton

An express train charges south towards Newcastle…

Longhoughton Winter Sun

Skinny winter sunshine over neighbouring farmland.

For those who like to know, these were shot on my much-loved Lumix LX3.

I inadvertently had the crop ratio set to 16:9, something I’m not used to but actually rather like on seeing these — very filmic, don’t you think?

Oh, my son’s team lost 4-0 by the way…

Spillers’ Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill

I’m pleased to announce the release of my first photography book, Spillers’ Downfall — a self-published series of images documenting the demolition of Spillers Mill here in Newcastle upon Tyne.

“…a set of images that are both strangely beautiful and undeniably awesome.” — Rob Meddes, The Crack

Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

I affectionately named this iconic building The White Cliffs of Byker after cycling past it for some eight years.

I’ve photographed it on so many occasions, building up a library of nearly five hundred images in the process.  Sadly, the last six months of 2011 became a record of its demolition.

Spillers’ Downfall forms a special selection of those photographs.

— A Selection of Photographs from Spillers’ Downfall

Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

Page 11 — ‘The White Cliffs of Byker’

Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

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Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

Page 41

Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

Page 69

Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

Page 75

Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

Page 77 — “Insects pick over the carcass…”

Spillers’ Downfall is available to buy in both printed hardback and eBook formats.

UPDATE Spring 2013: A special Collectors’ Edition is now available. Read more…

OR

Click here to buy the printed hardback version for £39.99

Click here to buy the eBook version for £3.99

Spillers' Downfall: The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

— Media Interest

Interest in this project is really gathering momentum…

  • On 17th February 2013, I was invited by Gem Andrews to ‘Culture Shock’ on NE1fm to discuss Spillers’ Downfall;
  • On 18th February, the Evening Chronicle published this article;
  • The March 2013 edition of The Crack contains a great piece by Rob Meddes (p.13);
  • Sky Tyne & Wear have already paid a visit to my studio and posted an article that you might also like to read…

https://twitter.com/skytyneandwear/status/269424487638917120

— Are You a Publisher?

This title is currently self-published.  If you are a publisher interested in working with me on this title, then please do contact me — I’m all ears!