Shipshape

Happy New Year, one and all! I trust that you’ve had a peaceful and enjoyable festive break?

At the start of 2015, after a long time in the planning, I find myself at a crux in my life: In just 10 days, I start The Lifeboat Station Project.

I’m excited and terrified in equal measures…

The Lifeboat Station Project

As many of you will already know, particularly those who follow my Instagram feed, The Lifeboat Station Project has been a fair while in the thinking and planning.

The main reason, you see, is that my mission ahead is not as straight forward as it could be.

The Lifeboat Station Project by Jack Lowe

In the modern era, I could quite easily have grabbed a digital camera, captured the images on a cluster of memory cards and then sat in front of a computer for weeks prettying them all up.

However, you’ll also know by now that I’m not making this extraordinary body of work like that at all. I’m making the photographs on 10×12″ glass, just as the Victorians used to.

So, I’ve had to take great care in many ways — from liaising with the RNLI to ensure that they’re happy to receive Neena at every station to working out methods of safely transporting so much glass whilst on…

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On the Telly

There’s excitement afoot but more on that later in the month.

In the meantime, whet your appetite with this short clip broadcast last night by the BBC Look North team. You’ll also discover why I made the Tintypes below…

Jack Lowe on the BBC

Click to see a short film on the BBC describing the beginnings of a new project…

Half Plate Tintype by Jack Lowe, wet plate collodion

BBC Look North reporter, Andrew Hartley, on a sunny day in Craster (Half Plate Tintype)

Half Plate Tintype by Jack Lowe, wet plate collodion

Tintype Selfie, lens cap opened for five elephants by assistant Robert (Half Plate Tintype)

7 Days to Go…

Jack Lowe running for the RNLIIt’s just seven days to go until my second Great North Run.

With 56,000 entrants, it’s now the largest mass-participation event in the UK as well as the world’s largest half marathon.

Fundraising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a really important part of the event for me (see my last post for some reasons why).

After raising £1652 for the RNLI on last year’s run, this year I hope to raise over £2000 for my local crew at Tynemouth Lifeboat Station — a busy station protecting the North Sea coast.

To reach that target I could really do with your help. As well as supporting me through my JustGiving page, I’ve also created a new way to donate…

For every print purchased from my Sea Collection, £25 will be donated to the Tynemouth Lifeboat  Station (£25 will pay for a week’s training for a lifeboat crew member).

So, not only will you have acquired a beautiful signed and numbered print but you will also be helping to save lives at sea.

Tynemouth 2, Photography by Jack Lowe

Buy a print from the Sea Collection and £25 will be donated to the Tynemouth Lifeboat Station…

This is a permanent feature of the Sea Collection, not just limited to my Great North Run fundraising efforts.

If you’d like to help me support the RNLI, please do have a look through the Sea Collection or visit my JustGiving page…

Lust for Lifeboats

I love boats. However, I particularly love Lifeboats.

As to why, it’s quite simple…

I love any environment that is well-designed for the purpose in hand, with everything in its place and nothing more.

Boats tend to epitomise that for me but Lifeboats do it with aplomb.

The Severn Class Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland, is a mighty-fine example and one that many were able to enjoy on Lifeboat Day yesterday…

Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland

Instruments

Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland

Deck Hatch — observe neatly aligned screw heads and locks!

Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland

Engine Room — one of two MTU M94 series 2000 V10 marine diesel engines producing 1507hp (1124kW) at 1500rpm…apparently.

Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland

Immaculate bodywork and bolts (neatly aligned hinge screw heads too!)…

Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland

Crowds gather through the warehouse door on Lifeboat Day…

Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland

A gunwale with a few stories to tell…

Tynemouth Lifeboat Station

Waterproofs (no humans present)…

When I was a young boy of eight, I always wanted to be a Lifeboatman but boring adults used to remind me that I wouldn’t be able to earn a living as a volunteer.

Every once in a while, I still daydream of being a Lifeboatman.

Speaking to crew members yesterday, it appears I still have time yet. Firstly, however, I just need to move to within eight minutes of the Lifeboat Station. Time for a family meeting…

Tynemouth Lifeboat, RNLB Spirit of Northumberland

Living the dream…

If you’d like to support me and the RNLI on the Great North Run 2013, please visit my JustGiving page. Your donations, no matter how modest, will be greatly appreciated.

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…!