Historic lifeboat images go on show at Poole Museum
Nearly 1,000 glass plate negatives of lifeboats dating back 150 years have been restored by the RNLI and are going on show.
Images from the archive of a family who have photographed maritime activity off the Isle of Wight for generations will form an exhibition at Poole Museum.
The Beken family, from Cowes, made a successful business out of taking photos of boats around the island.
Over 400 lifeboats were built there in the late 19th and early 20th Century.
The Beken family worked as pharmacists but the sight of yachts sailing past his bedroom window prompted a young Frank Beken to start capturing images on film in 1888.
He later tried to photograph the yachts from his own boat but the cameras available at the time were not suited to rough seas, so he designed a new style of camera in a wooden box-frame that he fired by biting a rubber ball held between his teeth.
The Beken family photographed new lifeboats as they rolled out of JS Whites' yard, and when they were trialled on the water. The result was a large collection of images dating from the late 19th Century until the early 1980s.
Last year, the RNLI received £30,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to preserve and digitise the nearly 1,000 glass plate negatives in the collection.
The work will be shown alongside glass plate images of current lifeboat stations and crew taken by photographer Jack Lowe.
Using a Victorian camera and an old ambulance converted into a darkroom, he has been travelling around the UK and Ireland on a mission to visit every one of the 238 RNLI lifeboat stations.
He photographs the view from each station along with the crew and coxswain or senior helm using wet plate collodion process, an early photographic technique that records the image on a glass plate.
The exhibition "Calm Before the Storm: The Art of Photographing Lifeboats" will be on display at Poole Museum from 26 January until 22 April.