Robal Studios (Pvt) Ltd

Robal Studios (Pvt) Ltd


Robert Lumsden Franks (Bob) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 4th August 1917. Robert’s schooling commenced at King Edward School for Boys, until 1927 when his family moved to Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where Robert continued his education at Plumtree and Milton schools. A keen member of the Bulawayo Boy Scout Troop Robert regularly attended their training camps in the famous Matopos National Park. His first job after school was at the Rhodesian Railways, Bulawayo as a bookkeeper whilst studying accountancy at night school.

During WWII, because of his interest in photography, he underwent training at Cranborne Air Force Base, Salisbury and was seconded to the Air Recognizance Photographic Unit where he served in the Royal Air Force 237 Squadron in Eritrea and Egypt as a photographer. In 1942 he married Beryl Fodisch.

After the war, he became a professional photographer, and established Robal Studios (PVT) Ltd. He was also a major shareholder and director of Associated Photographic Services in Bulawayo. His proficiency in photography ensured that he officiated at many weddings, schools, colleges, military establishments and recorded numerous historic events. Some of his official portrait subjects included Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Governors, and Prime Ministers of Rhodesia. His work also included the official aerial/survey photography of the Kariba Dam project on the Zambesi River.

His wife, Beryl, died in 1977 and he remarried in 1979 after which he emigrated to Canada where his eldest daughter was living. He passed away in 15th January, 2016.