Friday, November 11th, 2016

Rhodia Fan Profile: Bob Soltys


Today we are talking with photographer Bob Soltys.


RD: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

BS: Bonjour, and thank you for inviting me to participate. Photographer and writer since 1971. I still work with film, and write my books out by hand using a fountain pen.

Please look for me at:


My dog Lucky’s book:



RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?

BS: Rhodia Drive emerged as a suggested site when I added fountain pens to my blog feed about four years ago while looking for fountain pen-friendly paper. I’ve been a fan ever since.

RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?

BS: Last week I started my sixth daily gratitude journal using a Rhodia A6 webnotebook; I begin every day by writing down at least five things I’m grateful for in a notebook that is my “Gratitude Journal.” Today’s entries ended with number 17, 848.

No 12 Dotpad – this is a daily carry.

l’essential box: useful potpourri; the box itself makes a great MacBook stand

Rhodia pencil.

No 18 Dotpad.


RD: Do you always use the same product(s) or do you change periodically?

BS: Once I find something that works, I stick with it, especially as I use Baystate Blue ink in two very wet pens (a Pelikan M800, and a Montblanc 149 with a signature nib).

From time to time I write in a Leuchtturm 1917 or Write Notepad; Write Notepad’s brilliant white paper lets fountain pen ink glow. Leigh Reyes [of My Life as a Verb] sent me some Palomino Blackwing pencils after I donated a Montblanc 146 to an auction for Philippine typhoon victims, so I’ve grown to like the Pearl (white) pencils.

RD: Do you use them in any way that is specific to your work?

BS: When inspiration strikes, jot it down right now.

Candid photography in Paris and small town America requires blending in and walking for as many as ten hours some days. So it’s one camera, one lens, and whatever notepad fits in my cargo pants’ pocket while leaving room for film. The No. 12 Dotpad’s small footprint and generous 80 pages make it the perfect tool for jotting down an idea, a note, or a caption.

The Rhodia pencil is always ready if I need to make a quick note in the car (after pulling over, of course). Its orange color contrasts nicely with the black visor organizer – and with my 1977 camera bag’s brown cloth. The bag stays in the car trunk or hotel room, though.


In the initial stages of writing a book, I use a larger webnotebook as a permanent topic outline.

The No. 18 pad, slipped into a well-worn Coach portfolio, identifies one as a serious player during a business meeting.

RD: Does using Rhodia products make your job easier in any way? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)

BS: The No 12’s generous page count makes the job easier because I don’t have to switch pocket notebooks as often as I would if I used a thinner notebook. Its fountain pen friendly paper means I can write on both side of the page, giving me 160 pages for notetaking and idea capturing. And the Baystate Blue ink vibrates on the bright white paper.

Since the pencil doesn’t have a clip or a cap, it’s easy to grab it when I pull over to make a note, and the bright orange makes it easy to find.

RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?

BS: Pelikan M800 fountain pen, Rhodia pencil, Palomino Blackwing Pearl pencil.

Favorites are the Pelikan M800 and the Rhodia pencil, although I do like the white Blackwing Pearl.

RD: Where do you regularly purchase Rhodia products?

BS: Goulet pens, Writers’ bloc, and – when in Paris, Melodies Graphiques. Melodies Graphiques is a delightful store near Ile St-Louis that carries J. Herbin ink.

Paper Trails here in Northeast Ohio’s Rocky River has special ordered web notebooks for me.

RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?

BS: Please offer a bright white paper option in the web notebooks to allow brilliant ink colors to better light up the page.

Please add a longer ribbon on the dot paper version of the web notebooks.

Thank you again for having me.

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