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

Page 29

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!

London: A Painterly Portrait

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

A portrait of London at sunrise from Primrose Hill…

Imagine you are standing at sunrise on Primrose Hill, looking south across the vast cityscape of London.

Now rewind the clock to the turn of the Century: ‘Pre-Shard’ and ‘pre-Gherkin’, it’s hard to believe that the newest structure on the horizon was the London Eye (the Millennium Wheel).

Construction cranes can be seen in the distance, beavering away to build the new future that seems so normal today and, unusually, there’s not a single human in sight.

My peaceful, painterly portrait of London heralds the new Millennium — a slice of time from a skyline that will never look the same again…

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

Print Detail — The trees at the bottom of Primrose Hill, with the silhouette of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance…

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

Print Detail — The Snowdon Aviary of London Zoo nestles among the trees and the BT Tower in Fitzrovia makes its iconic statement on the skyline…

If you would like to own one of these beautiful prints — made, numbered, signed and embossed by me — you can buy it directly from my Cornerstone Collection.

London from Primrose Hill, Photography by Jack Lowe

Click the image to see the 12×8″ Archival Pigment Print in my Cornerstone Collection…

 

 

Rum at Dusk

The Isle of Rum from Camusdarach, Scotland, photographed by Jack Lowe

“All the complex wires of life were stripped out and he could see the structure of life.

“Nothing but rock and sea, the tiny figures of humans and animals against them for a brief time.” — Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

Annie Proulx has eloquently put into words an issue I’ve been pondering of late…

When I first step out of the car having journeyed to a place such as the west coast of Scotland, why is it that I always feel so readily and notably at ease?

Any cares or concerns fritter away in the breeze (there’s always at least a breeze in Scotland) and my mind seems instantly able to function with a new-found clarity.

It’s a sensation rather akin to drinking a lovely cool glass of water on a baking hot day.

For Example…

In August my wife and I travelled to a spot just south of Mallaig in Scotland. I wrote about it shortly afterwards on these pages.

The thing is, this site didn’t even exist at the start of that week and now it does — a direct result of the clarity gained from being in a location so wild as the west coast of Scotland.

On the day this site was conceived, during that week in August, I made my first new photograph in years — one that I knew would be among the first to grace these pages.

So, here it is, a sumptuous Platinum/Palladium print capturing the beautiful Isle of Rum at dusk (as seen from the mainland at Camusdarach)…

The Island of Rum from Camusdarach, Scotland, photographed by Jack Lowe

Visit my Platinum/Palladium Print Collection to buy this print and have it delivered to your door. Alternatively, feel free to contact me for further information.

If you’d like know more about Platinum/Palladium Prints, you can learn all about them by clicking here.

My thanks to Paul Kenny for our discussions about wild places and for pointing me in the direction of the The Shipping News once again.

I’m currently re-reading this beautiful book…

Postcards from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

I’ve been involved in a rather special journey over the last week or so — accompanying my friend Duncan Davis on his narrowboat, Pearl Barley, from Skipton to Leeds.

Defiantly imperial, Duncan briefed me ahead of our mission:

“The total distance is 28 miles, 7¾ furlongs and 28 locks. There are at least 32 moveable bridges of which 3 are usually left open and 20 small aqueducts or underbridges.”

The journey took five days, albeit at a leisurely pace. The time taken to travel home to Newcastle by train from Leeds? 90 minutes!

A longer blog post beckons once I have sifted through the hundreds of photographs I’ve made. In the meantime, I’d like to share my favourite Instagrams from the journey with you.

All made with my iPhone 4s and edited with Nik Software’s Snapseed, I view them as a kind of scrapbook for formulating my thoughts whilst also acting as modern day postcards, winging their way into the timelines of my followers…

Pearl Barley on the Leeds Liverpool Canal

The 57ft Pearl Barley

Morris 1000 Dashboard

Duncan had a surprise for me — we would drive from Frosterley to Skipton in his 1955 Morris 1000…

Pearl Barley narrowboat gearbox

Before we could go anywhere, the gearbox needed seeing to…

Captain Duncan Davis at the tiller of his heritage narrowboat, Pearl Barley

Captain Duncan Davis at the tiller of Pearl Barley

Pearl Barley on the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Standing on the roof of Pearl Barley as we pass through a leafy stretch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal…

Bingley Five Rise Staircase Lock

Entering the first lock at Bingley Five Rise…

Bingley Five Rise Staircase Lock Gates

Water gushes through the 4220kg gates at Bingley Five Rise…

Pearl Barley moored at Saltaire on the Leeds Liverpool Canal

The stoves keep us warm during a chilly, misty morning at Saltaire…

Duncan Davis at Fanny's Public House, Saltaire

Duncan Davis at Fanny’s Public House, Saltaire

My Own Perfect Landscape

I’ve been looking forward to writing about Cambois (pronounced Kammus) for a long time now — in particular, introducing you to the photograph featured in this post.

A small Northumbrian coastal village born from the mining industry in 1862, Cambois is a wild, bizarre location.

Like many before me, I initially journeyed there to see the wind turbines mounted on the breakwater, as well as those planted out to sea.

The turbines were impressive enough and made lovely photographs but you’ve seen one turbine and you’ve seen them all, right?

On turning round to drive back home, I was overwhelmed by the scene that unravelled before me as I saw the same location but, this time, from the other direction.

Cambois, Northumberland, UK, Photography by Jack Lowe

Cambois (pronounced ‘Kammus’)

Stepping out from the car, my memory tells me that I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief but, in all honesty, that probably didn’t happen.

The scene looked splendid but wasn’t quite right for the kind of photograph I would like to make.  Some secret sauce was required.

The necessary approach was obvious to me, a neat tip to all landscape photographers that has made the difference to so many of my landscapes…

What is that secret sauce?  A step-ladder!

In this instance, those extra few feet gave me the elevation required to distinguish the elements of this landscape that, as a fan of infrastructure, holds everything for me — community, industry, power, road, rail, sea and air.

So many fundamental facets of modern living all featuring in one photograph, my own perfect landscape.

An Historical Document

To me, this photograph now has an added dimension, as the scene cannot be captured in the same way again.

A few years ago, on a frosty December morning, I drove back to the area to witness and photograph the demolition of Blyth Power Station’s four famous chimneys.

It was a moving, spectacular event and one that made my photograph of Cambois a particularly special and unique record of the area; a true moment in time.

Demolition of Blyth Power Station, Northumberland, UK, Photography by Jack Lowe

The demolition of Blyth Power Station’s chimneys, the backdrop to my photograph.

The Print

Shot on 5×4 negative film, I still enjoy poring over the details of Cambois

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

A hole in a roof with Blyth Power Station looming in the background…

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

The tracks wind their way to the aluminium smelter further along the coast…

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

To the left, a lone figure stands in the distance on the jetty (a detail I only noticed after scanning the film)…

High Resolution File Detail of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

The heavy plates bolting the tracks to their respective sleepers…

Printed signed, numbered and embossed by me, this release measures 12×8″ on 20×16″ paper.

Visit my Northumberland Print Collection to buy this print directly from this site (despite appearances, a PayPal account is not required to complete transactions).

Recently remastered for availability on this site, I was delighted that print No.1 sold within moments.

Signed and numbered print of Cambois, Photography by Jack Lowe

Signed, numbered and embossed print of Cambois by Jack Lowe

A Final Aside…

Paul Kenny spotted this postcard of the Cambois miners’ banner for me, which I now often show beside my print as a nod to the heritage of this small mining community…

Framed Postcard of Cambois and Bates Miners' Banner