A UNIVERSITY student has dedicated his photographic exhibition to the tall ship that was stationed in Whitehaven - after being invited aboard by crew.

Joseph Robinson, from Bigrigg, is a second year student studying photography at Cumbria University.

After seeing the Whitehaven News article about the La Malouine, he visited and was welcomed aboard by the crew, who allowed him to do a project and photographic exhibition about it.

Whitehaven News: The Art of Light exhibition The Art of Light exhibition (Image: Supplied)

The exhibition, the Art of Light, ran at the Refectory at Carlisle Cathedral.

Joseph was initially intrigued about the uniqueness of the ship. He said: "Its structure was beautiful and her name La Malouine, really interested me – mainly because of my affinity for languages.

"My first thoughts were ‘Oh, a French ship docked in Whitehaven harbour out of nowhere? I gotta go see this.’"

The captain of the ship shared the boat's colourful history with Joseph. He learnt that it was only ever administered with the French registry, it was not French itself. It was made in Gdansk, Poland in the 1950s-60s - apparently by the KGB.

Whitehaven News: La Malouine shot taken by JoeLa Malouine shot taken by Joe (Image: Joseph Robinson)

La Malouine was bought from the Dutch in the nineties and was hijacked by French pirates a couple of years later, the captain claimed, and used to transport illicit substances until it was purposely crashed.

In 2016-2017, Roy Kerr came upon the ship and after years of back-and-forth with the French registry, eventually took ownership of the vessel in 2018-2019.

Joseph said: "I wanted to explore the history La Malouine had, and I also wanted to create images that exemplified this history, trying to find objects and places that evidenced this change of hands.

"I went into multiple areas of the ship; the cabins down below, the engine room and the cabins at the front and explored every part that I could explore, locking in every detail."

Whitehaven News: The control room of the shipThe control room of the ship (Image: Joseph Robinson)

The main areas which Joseph focused on were the objects and places that showed generational change. For example, photos of the engine room with the original Polish Insignias stamped onto the engine itself showed the ships origin being Polish.

Joseph said: "I then took photos of objects that showed this change, for example, some books are in English and some are in French, showing what the previous owners of the ship enjoyed.

"I looked for the linguistic changes and any evidence of non-English interference.

Whitehaven News: Books in different languages showing the changing hands of the shipBooks in different languages showing the changing hands of the ship (Image: Joseph Robinson)

"The whole project had over six-hundred shots, but I had to cull that down to nine shots for The Art of Light, our exhibition."

Joseph spoke about how the exhibition went for him, he said: "It was amazing, putting it simply – the opening night was bustling with people. I’d say we easily had over fifty people there, and afterwards we had no peace.

Whitehaven News: One of the shops Joe captured One of the shops Joe captured (Image: Joseph Robinson)

"There was always someone coming in, ready for a tour of our work which was extremely eye-opening, showing our work to complete strangers for the first time in an exhibition is nothing like how it is on Instagram, that’s for sure. "