Tributes have been paid to Robert White, founder of one of the UK’s leading photographic retailers, who has died aged 62.

[Photo credit: Stu Culley]

Robert, who had fought a courageous three-year battle against a rare form of cancer, founded Robert White Photographic in Dorset 33 years ago as a specialist retailer dealing in new and second-hand equipment.

The business grew from a small shop in Robert’s home town of Poole to become one of the largest independent photographic suppliers in the UK.

Customers hail from as far afield as the United States and the Far East.

Hardy Haase, managing director of Flaghead Photographic, which took over the Robert White retail business last year, had known Robert for 40 years.

Hardy first met Robert when he supplied Bowens lighting equipment to the Leslie Miller shop in Poole, where Robert worked at the time.

Robert will be remembered by people who knew him for his love of ‘high-quality, well-designed, well-engineered products’, Hardy told Amateur Photographer.

Robert had incredible engineering skills and a workshop where he displayed a passion for craftsmanship in sports cars, engines, watches and cameras – and a treasured collection of Leicas.

One of the greatest joys for Robert was handling a new Leica camera, said Hardy, adding: ‘When he had oil on his fingers and exhaust fumes in his nostrils, he was happiest…

‘His success enabled him to follow his many interests and he built one of the largest privately held motorcycle collections in the UK…’

On Robert’s business dealings, Hardy added: ‘You always got his honest opinion, not biased by what people wanted him to say…’

Also paying tribute was Peter MacCabe, who wrote on Facebook: ‘I worked in the photographic trade many years ago and always respected Robert White and his approach to his part in the market.’

Friend Ricky Cuss described Robert as a ‘lovely, generous, interesting and humorous individual’.

Hardy continued: ‘Robert was a very intelligent man with never-ending curiosity, a great character, eccentric some might call him, and we will miss him.’

Robert died on 24 November from an uncommon group of cancers known as neuroendocrine tumours (NETs).