Sad News - The Passing Of A Friend

on December 23, 2016

I have been advised of the passing of a friend - Ronald Frank. It is a sad thing to learn, as it marks the end of an era for the Camera Electronic firm, for the Western Australian photographic industry, and for me personally. I cannot speak for the company or the industry but I can record my own thoughts.

I met Ron Frank in the Angove Street shop back in the 1970's. He seemed to be a fountain of both salesmanship and innovative thought. I was interested in photography and the fact that one could have a straight-out discussion with someone who was extremely knowledgable drew me back there again and again. I met his sons and his wife on these shop visits but did not know that I would see them many times in future years.

Well, he advanced, the firm advanced, and he set up the shop again in Fitzgerald Street. And I became an even bigger customer. I wanted to expand my photographic ventures into medium and large format and Ron knew exactly what would be needed to do this. Thank goodness he set me on the right pathway - I purchased gear from him, upon his recommendation, that proved to be durable and appropriate. Whatever success I had in those film days was due in a large part to his advice. He even got me going with colour processing.

Business is a two-way street. I was a dentist in those days and Ron did me the honour to put himself in my hands on a professional basis. He was a good patient and I was glad to see him come in the door. As he was a technical man himself, it was possible to explain what the treatment procedures were in comprehensive terms and we agreed on things. I think he liked to be kept abreast of the thing in an honest fashion.

Over the years in the surgery we had more discussions about large-format photography than we did about the dentistry and I must say I welcomed that very much as a relief from pressure. One day he said jokingly that if I ever wanted to quit filling teeth I should ring him up for a job... little suspecting that I was listening...

Well that day arrived...and I did write to him for a job. Bless him, he realised that I was, for once, serious, and recommended to Saul and Howard that they take me on for a trial period. That trial period extended to about seven and a half years and I will find out any day now whether I was successful...

Okay - apart from that joke, Ron supported me and encouraged me in my employment all the way through. He was kind enough to read this weblog column and not snort about it. He was the Governing Director but not above being a good salesman in the shop when he visited and frequently thought of ideas that I overlooked - to the benefit of the shop and the customer. That's a good professional.

I have thought kindly of him and admired him for years and will continue to do so in memory. I hope that his wife and boys, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren will be comforted to see that so many of us do.

Uncle Dick Stein