The Maiden Factor Blog

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The story behind the photo – a guest blog by photographer Jack Lowe

This blog was originally posted on Jack Lowe’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/lordlowe/ A big thank-you to Jack for letting The Maiden Factor share his fantastic photograph and story.

I was struck by the Maiden Film last weekend. It rekindled happy memories from my early teenage years when, among so many things, I was heavily into the Whitbread Round the World Race. It really sparked my imagination in a very similar way to the RNLI lifeboat volunteers, containing key ingredients that tick so many boxes for me: courage, endeavour, amazing boats and style.

So when Tracy Edwards MBE successfully completed the epic race with the first all-female crew, I made sure I was at Ocean Village in Southampton to witness their homecoming on 28th May 1990.

©Jack Lowe

Aged 14, I was so excited. I shot several frames on my old Praktica L2. It had a screw mount telephoto attached and, just like today, the camera didn’t have a light meter, so I didn’t use one to judge the exposure. Afterwards, I dashed home and processed the film in my bedroom that I’d turned into a darkroom. I knew I’d captured a moment but in those days, I had no idea how to get a photograph “out there” and show it to the right people.

Things are different now, of course, so I went to the studio last Sunday and found the negative in minutes. My cataloguing skills were pretty good then too, so no software required for that search!

On Monday, the 35mm Ilford FP4 negative went on a journey to London to be digitised using a 101MP camera (thank you, Madison @studioknowles) creating the file you see pictured here.

Who’d have thought all these years later that I’d actually be in touch with Tracy? She loves the photograph too. Wonderful. If only I could have shown Tracy’s tweets and messages to my 14 year old self and say: “Hang in there, Jack, this photo will come into its own in 30 years time.” And can you guess what I’ve just realised I’m going to have to do now? That’s right, dig out the camera!

Tracy was so excited to receive a print from Jack, especially as it was from an angle she had never seen before! ©The Maiden Factor/Mackenna Edwards-Mair

Jack has continued taking photographs to this day, and is still working with boats- but this time with Lifeboats! Check out his incredible Lifeboat Station Project as he shares and records the incredible work done by RNLI volunteers: https://lifeboatstationproject.com/2020/01/11/5-years-and-still-going-strong/