Rollei-centric

by Andrew Dodson on 10 May 2011

Making Club Rollei User more Rollei-centric has required me to gather some basic information about TLR Rolleis. Clearly, I am not the first person to document an archive of Rollei's.... in any case  it would be remiss of me not to mention rolleiclub.com as one of my main sources for the model information included so far. With this documentation well in progress, I still feel that the Rollei category pages were missing visual impact.

Cue John Powell's website.  I happened upon John's site (photo above is from his website) whilst searching for some suitable photos to flesh out the camera categorisation. Trolling for images  is a slow process and I am always conscious that by using an image from the web that I may be violating some sort of copyright.

Rolleicord 1a

Rolleicord 1a Type 3 from John's Collection

In any case, John (not to be mistaken with John Wild our editor) has built a site that captures his Rollei collection and more.   Over the last 10 years he has meticulously photographed his Rolleis and then put them on his site with additional information.  If you haven't already found this site then I urge you to take a look at Rollei-Only. In fact I noticed that when David Morgan wrote an article on the Rolleifex 2.8B (Issue 17 pg3) he credited John's site with the images used;  so you will already have seen some of his work.

When you visit the site you will note that it has undergone a change with  many 'sold' stickers plastered across Rollei's and equipment.  Is this the recession at its worst? Fortunately no, but it provides a very interesting take on how John sees his legacy in the cameras he will eventually leave behind.

John Powell - a little about him

The magical box (no not an iPad) that was opened in front of a young boy in his fathers garage nearly 60 years ago started the journey. What a joy that at this point in John's life he can look at a moment in his childhood and identify what inspired his life's course.  Clearly the challenges to stay the path required dedication, notwithstanding a careers advisor whom upon learning of John's passion, informed him that with his training he would not be able to become photographer.  A defining a moment which tests the mettle of a boy and forms the man.

Born and raised in Birmingham and following his photography calling to Canada in 1966, he made a career in photography using a diverse array of equipment including the Yahica TLRs, 4x5 MPP cameras, the Sinar monorail system and Hasselblad SLRs to name but a few (clearly to list every camera would be impractical). Despite such a diverse and deep involvement in photography, his collection of Rollei's only began some 15 years ago shortly after moving to Taiwan.

Harbouring a passion for Rolleis inspired from that first experience, he began collecting Rolleis and at one point owned 62 of them.  He has now reached a point in his life whereby he does not see a natural successor to his collection. Rather than hoard the collection, he is selling the collection to pass the legacy on.  If the array of sold stickers is anything to go by, I suspect he has made good progress.

Helping rollei.org.uk grow

I have reached out to John and he has kindly agreed to help and share some of his Rollei photos.  Providing a base collection of images for our Rollei TLR index will give the site the Rollei-centricity required. I also hope that he will provide some anecdotes to include on the site and maybe some photos taken with his Rolleis.  In fact whilst perusing his photos I came across the very beautiful Rolleiflex T1 Gray in his collection... So I asked him how he came upon this and and he couldn't wait to share the story (read about it here).

Should we stop here?  Certainly not... more stories and photos of your Rollei creates a legacy  .  So if you would like to share photos and anecdotes on your collection, then please email me (help@rollei.org.uk) and I will arrange to have them published on the site.

In any case there is still some work for me to get our Rollei Image Gallery started!

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