Jack Lowe and The Lifeboat Station Project

Collections / Exhibitions - Posted 09-04-2018

This year is the ‘Year of the Sea’ in Wales, where various individuals and institutions will be celebrating Wales’ epic coastline. Although our coastline is beautiful, it isn’t without its troubles; for nearly 200 years the RNLI lifeboat crews have been busy saving lives at sea, and one man has undertaken an ambitious project that, in his own words, is “about the lifeboat volunteers, for the lifeboat volunteers.”

The Lifeboat Station Project is photographer Jack Lowe’s mission to record all 238 RNLI stations in the UK and Ireland. But he’s not doing it with a compact camera swung over his shoulder, but with a large format Victorian one, with which he creates stunning images on glass in his mobile ambulance – a decommissioned Ambulance named Neena!

A photographic project of this scale hasn’t been attempted before, although the idea itself stems from an earlier tradition of photographing lifeboat crews. It is Jack’s endeavour to tap into the sense of pride of the unique RNLI volunteers – individuals from all walks of life who give up their time to protect the waters of the British Isles. By visiting every RNLI Lifeboat Station in the UK and Ireland, this will result in an unprecedented archive, preserving a vital aspect of the culture of the British Isles for future generations.

Saturday, the very first exhibition of The Lifeboat Station Project prints opened here at the Library, and will be on display throughout the year. Along with twenty unique ambrotype prints of some Welsh RNLI stations and their crews, Jack has also shared a few of the stories behind the pictures, which can be read and heard using the Smartify App

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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

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