Five years into his remarkable and challenging project to photograph all RNLI lifeboat station in the UK and Ireland with a Victorian-era camera, Jack Lowe has visited 147 stations and met more than 2,000 volunteers.
And it’s not over yet, as the West of Ireland and Scotland’s Western Isles are among those locations yet to be covered by The Lifeboat Station Project between now and the end of 2022.
They will add to the more than 35,000 miles he’s already covered with his trusty converted ambulance, ‘Neena’, which also serves as his mobile darkroom for the 19th-century wet plate collodion process he used to produce his distinct, monochrome images.
Last September, Lowe toured Northern Ireland to complete that 10-station leg of his mammoth undertaking.
That came almost a year after he reached the half-way mark in his project, shortly following his 100th station visit at Valentia — and at a time of self-doubt, before crowdfunding support provided the boost needed to see the rest of the task through.
At the same time, he’s expanded the scope of the project — including images of station mechanics and other key volunteers, as well as making sound recordings that go ‘behind the scenes’.
“Ultimately, I’m honoured beyond words to be making this archive,” Lowe says. “It’s a privilege spending time with so many lifeboat volunteers, preserving their bravery and devotion for future generations.”
The Lifeboat Station Project’s dedicated website has links to Lowe’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, as well as his Patreon campaign.