A few months ago, I had a call from Jeremy Rata telling me of a lockdown project he’d been working on to restore and sell Rollei 35 series cameras. Some months later, his plan has come together, and a select few of said cameras can now be bought from the 35mmc Shop, and plenty more on his own shop here too
In fact, Jeremy also has plans to expand into restoring and refurbishing other brands of cameras, but for now, the Rollei 35 series camera make up his current stock of over 100 cameras. He also has all the models from the original made in Germany Tessar lens version through the S and T versions to the later SE and TE models.
All of the Rollei cameras he sells are serviced by an ex-Rollei factory trained technician and are in perfect working order. The condition of the body work varies from worn to as close to perfect as you’ll find. Many of them are also reskinned, come in a presentation box with a hot shoe cover, soft release, case, strap, a roll of film and a 12 month warranty.
In short, if you are in the market for a Rollei 35, want some reassurance that you’re going to get a good one, Film Furbish is the place to go. And if you want a really special one, keep an eye on the 35mmc shop, as I will be stocking some of the most special ones he puts together – including some Camerakote re-painted ones!
A short interview with Jeremy
In the run-up to him launching, me and Jeremy have been chatting a a fair amount. Like a lot of professional photographers, his workload dropped when the 1st lockdown happened, but he has quite in interesting background, so I asked him if he’d mind answering a few questions for this article.
H: You’ve told me about your background – you’ve not always been a photographer?
J: No, I’m a professional photographer who came late to the game. I now specialise in Portraiture as well as Sports Photography and Product Photography. But for many years I was a Hotelier at a high level and am one of less than 100 Master Innholders, running the Hotels Estates for the Duke of Devonshire (11 years) and subsequently Sir John Ritblat (8 years) where the hotels achieved many accolades during my tenure not least a Michelin star.
H: So the photography then – how did that start?
J: My interest in Photography actually started when I was 8. My uncle was a Photographer who also had a retail business called York Cameras in London. I was the only one of his nephews who showed any interest in photography, so every Birthday and Christmas I used to receive some kind of photography related present. He used to develop and print his own film and taught me how to do it. My love for film photography stems from there and is undiminished. Even though I now shoot Digital (Nikon and Leica) for work, I still shoot film for my private and personal work.
H: What sort of photography do you shoot?
I used to do all the photography for the Hotels I ran, formerly brochure work, latterly digital media work, so in 2008 I set up a Hotel Product Photography Business with a friend Ben Duffy. I was getting a lot of demand from colleagues to do their photography for them, so it made sense. The business is called Hospitality Photographic and it has grown into one of the foremost Hotel Photography specialists and has clients from all over the UK and many overseas.
I am also a documentary photographer – see www.jeremyrata.com. In 2010 I was commissioned by a philanthropist to provide the imagery for the book Afghan Faces to raise funds for the Sandy Gall Afghanistan Appeal and for Help for Heroes. It meant a three-week trip to Afghanistan where we travelled all over the country documenting the people of that country. One of the Images (below) won through to the finals of the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize and was exhibited for 3 months in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
In 2012 I won through to the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize finals once again for an image I took in a trip to India that year (below). I have travelled the world doing documentary Photography and am currently working on a book about the people of India and Bangladesh.
H: Quite the career then, but like with many professional photographers, Covid caused you some issues?
J: Yes, most of my commissions for photography were put on hold and I found myself with not a lot to do during lock down. Some photographers decided to document it, but I decided to try and do something different. I love cameras, I needed something I could do at home, so I started thinking about buying up some cameras off ebay to refurbish.
These were, and still are, mainly Rollei 35s, but I have also picked up Rolleiflexes, Nikon F2 & F3s, Leica M3s and Leica 111Fs, Bronica s2AS,
Olympus OM2 and SP Rangefinders and Zeiss Ikon Super Ikontas.
All of these will eventually end up on the website, but to start with I really wanted to concentrate on the Rollei cameras. Not least because I happen to know an ex-Rollei factory trained technician who I use to service all of the cameras that come to me with any sort of fault.
I also do some of the more basic work myself including assessing the issues, fixing the slow speed mechanisms and reskinning them. I have also now partnered with Aaron at Camerakote to start producing some specials which will appear on the website in the next few weeks.
I also realised the importance of packaging and security when shipping so after many weeks of looking, I found a manufacturer of
boxes and another of foam inserts that have allowed me to produce a really high quality bespoke presentation box which will add the final touch to what I hope is a high quality purchase.
H: You are also offering CLA and restoration service for people who already have Rollei cameras – how can people get in touch?
J: The Film Furbish website went live today and now I am setting about adding to the full inventory. Contact details can be found at the bottom of the website. I can also be found on Twitter and Instagram