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Lifeboat Photographer Captures 'Courage On Our Coasts'

15th September 2013
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Lifeboat Photographer Captures 'Courage On Our Coasts'

#Photography - A new book and exhibition showcasing striking photos of the lifesaving work of the RNLI were launched last week.

The Lifeboat: Courage On Our Coasts showcases over 400 iconic images captured through the lens of RNLI lifeboat crew member and award-winning professional photographer Nigel Millard, from dramatic shots of lifeboats battling fierce seas to candid portraits of the charity’s dedicated volunteer crew members, lifeguards and fundraisers.

Millard’s photos – the result of two years’ work – offer a unique eyewitness insight into the full scope of the RNLI’s lifesaving work.

To capture the images, Millard, who volunteers as a crew member at Torbay in Devon, visited RNLI lifeboat stations and lifeguard units around the UK and Ireland. At each station, Nigel carried a pager and was alerted to shouts, along with the local crew, to capture the action first-hand.

Hear Millard read an exerpt from his visit with Rosslare Harbour RNLI:


A selection of striking images from the book also features in a touring exhibition of the same name - the first time that photographs of the RNLI’s work have been made available to the public in this way. The exhibition will travel to locations including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Dublin and Birmingham.

Copies of the book - written by Dr Huw Lewis-Jones, with the foreword by HRH The Duke of Cambridge - will be available to buy at the exhibition, along with other specially-designed merchandise featuring Nigel’s stunning images.

Nigel Millard says he hopes the images will give people a better understanding of the RNLI’s lifesaving work.

"My favourite photo is a casualty’s eye view," he says. "I’ve been a man overboard on exercises – once in the water, you see nothing, then just a tiny bit of orange, and it’s not the sun, it’s a lifeboat. It epitomises the work I do, and the work of the RNLI.

"I hope the exhibition will raise awareness of the charity. People who don’t know anything about rescue at sea will get to hear about it, they will know we’re here to help. Someone might be inspired to volunteer – not necessarily on the crew, but maybe as a fundraiser. Or some might wish to donate."

Dr Lewis-Jones, who accompanied Nigel on many of his photo shoots, says of the book and exhibition: "It’s a show of great photos that represent the best of the RNLI. It’s a way of reminding people that they are only ever 70 miles from the sea – we may all need the RNLI’s help. 

"We’ve joined crews all around the country on shouts, but also for a cup of tea. The photos are a collection of what the RNLI family means, the true spirit of the RNLI – ordinary people doing extraordinary things."

The book’s will be available 30 September direct from the RNLI (www.rnlishop.org) as well as good bookshops and stockists including Amazon.

And in partnership with Epson, the RNLI is also running a photography competition, My Coast, while the exhibition is touring. 

The charity is challenging photographers to capture what the varied and beautiful coasts of the British Isles mean to them. The winner will receive a large format print of an image of their choice from The Lifeboat: Courage on our Coasts exhibition, signed by the photographer Nigel Millard; a photo quality Epson colour printer (kindly donated by Epson); and a waterproof housing for an SLR camera and an iPhone waterproof housing (kindly donated by Cameras Underwater).

A shortlist of 10 entries will be selected by Nigel Millard. He will be looking for striking images that encapsulate the photographer’s experience of the British Isles coastlines and something of their relationship with the sea. The short-list will then go forward for a public vote on the RNLI’s Facebook page. 

The closing date for entries is Monday 31 March 2014 and the winner will be notified by Monday 5 May 2014. Entries should be submitted by completing the online form at www.rnli.org/mycoast and emailing images as a JPEG file to [email protected].

For those who can’t make it to the exhibition, an online version will also be available at www.rnli.org/courageonourcoasts.

Published in Marine Photo
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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