After 80 Years, Still Smiling on the Job

After 80 Years, Still Smiling on the Job


Fred Marcus, who was a longtime wedding day photographer in New York, often mentioned: “When the marriage ceremony is around the photos will previous forever. So will the interactions we designed at that event.”

A long time later the two statements continue to ring genuine.

In January, the Fred Marcus Studio marked 80 many years in company. The studio, which has always specialized in weddings, is one of the number of multigenerational owned and run images enterprise continue to flourishing in New York.

Just after additional than 7 a long time on West 72nd Street, the corporation moved to its present 58th Street location in Columbus Circle in 2019. In accomplishing so, they packed up hundreds of photographs, volumes of digital archives and stirred recollections developed in excess of the decades.

They went from a 4,000 sq. toes room functioning out of a few diverse floors to 2,500 toes, which was all on just one stage, earning it far more cohesive for absolutely everyone to function. For above a thirty day period, they packed up 300 additionally packing containers, which contained 30 years value of negatives and digital substance, most of which have been put in a storage device. They moved to the new space with extra than a dozen cameras, lighting machines, massive printer, photo backgrounds, and 50-in addition albums loaded with archival photographs. The lease at their prior site was exorbitant, they mentioned, and they wanted a fewer expensive locale.

In 1939, Fred Marcus was a 29-calendar year-previous escaped Holocaust survivor residing in Cuba. He created cash getting pics of family members on the seaside.

“All he understood was how to choose pictures and connect with people,” mentioned his son, Andy Marcus, 71, who life on the Higher West Facet with Judi Marcus, his wife and the manager of the studio. “When I was tiny I requested him why he did weddings. He took out the Yellow Pages and flipped to commercial vogue photographers. There were webpages of them. Then he went to marriage ceremony photographers. Only a few or four have been outlined. He wished to excel at something many others didn’t.”

Fred Marcus was 31 in 1941 when he opened his studio in the basement floor in a developing on West 72nd Road. At the time his son was a person. Twelve a long time later, in an effort to hold Andy out of trouble, he created him a lighting assistant at the weddings he was capturing.

“Afterward we’d swap out the utilized film for new movie at 2 a.m. in the closet. We set a towel on the floor to block the gentle from getting into,” Andy Marcus reported. “We’d converse about the marriage. It was a great way to get to know him.”

Andy Marcus by no means left the business enterprise. Soon after graduating school he started off functioning at the studio entire time. When his father was injured in a vehicle incident in 1975, Andy Marcus stepped up.

“I was still left on my very own to run the business enterprise,” he said. “I didn’t have a clue how to do that. I just understood I experienced to make it work. I wanted him to be proud of me.”

Whilst Fred Marcus expended 7 months in the healthcare facility, Andy Marcus was flourishing. The initially torch was handed.

“When I commenced, every single image necessary 1 flash bulb. Then you experienced to alter the movie,” he explained. “The most pics you took at a marriage were 80 to 100. When electronic arrived in the early 2000s, it transformed every thing. Now you can get 100 photos of the bride’s sneakers.”

What has not improved are the client’s wants with regards to what to capture.

“We’re identified for expressive, perfectly-lit relatives portraits. It retains our legacy likely,” reported Andy Marcus.

In 2001, Fred Marcus, then 91, died. Over the yrs Andy Marcus expanded the enterprise, introduced new vitality, refreshing strategies, lifted price ranges and elevated clientele. The 80s and early 90s brought opulence and above-the-prime events. “The weddings have been bigger, there were being additional bouquets, larger bands, everything was on steroids,” Andy Marcus mentioned.

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The wedding sector grew. Stars grew to become clientele. Nowadays normal packages get started all over $9,000 to $20,000, though some consumers have invested extra than $150,000.

Then, Andy’s son, Brian Marcus, who uncovered the business enterprise the exact same way his father did, joined the business in 2003, returning to the East Coast after college and a quick position functioning as a output assistant at a movie organization in Los Angeles.

“This is a work my relatives has been passionately ingrained in endlessly,” reported Brian Marcus, 42, who life in Tenafly, N.J. Brian Marcus, who is now the corporation president, took in excess of the organization two many years when his father commenced to gradual down. His father however shoots weddings, fulfills with purchasers, assists with photo assortment and developing the albums.

“Being born into this, I currently experienced a leg up for the reason that clientele reliable me,” Brian Marcus stated. They realized I had the knowledge and skill. Then I experienced to hold their rely on and demonstrate myself. Each day I get the job done to get paid the regard my father and grandfather built.”

These days, not like Andy or Brian, they have six full-time workforce. That involves the two photographers who function in the studio, cover weddings and tackle manufacturing. Fifteen section-time staffers help with photography, video clip and lights.

They have photographed extra than 30,000 weddings, touring around the earth to seize partners on movie and video. Among the celebs they have witnessed indicating ‘I do’ are: Mary Tyler Moore and Dr. Robert Levine, Billy Baldwin and Chynna Phillips, Eddie Murphy and Nicole Mitchell, Mario and Matilda Cuomo’s daughter and granddaughter, and Senator Chuck and Iris Schumer’s daughter. They also photographed the weddings of Donald Trump and Marla Maples, and Ivanka and Jared Kushner.

“My father understood how to acquire a photograph. Again then you couldn’t seem at what you bought to see if you captured the pair or the cake or people today dancing. You had to rely on you received the shot,” explained Andy Marcus, who included that the marriage ceremony and function business enterprise could be an all-consuming, seven-day-a-week work. “It’s challenging on your individual existence. You can miss out on a ton of weekends and holidays with your family for the reason that you’re documenting other persons celebrating them.”

But it is in these celebrations that the Marcus household has used a life span capturing and developing a generational footprint.

“Seventy yrs ago, Fred Marcus shot my parent’s marriage ceremony, and 46 decades ago shot mine,” said Judy Kaufthal, 67, of the Bronx. “This was a extended-term marriage. I have recognised all of them. They did my a few sons’ weddings. Fred, who was not working any more, came to my oldest son’s marriage ceremony just to give him a hug. Which is a unique detail.”

In the marriage market, nostalgia is almost everything.

“My father had a fantastic way with people today. He told me to under no circumstances say ‘smile’ to someone. Talk to them as an alternative,” Andy Marcus reported. “He designed associations. Then he saved them. I did, much too. So does Brian. That’s how we retain this likely. That’s why we’re continue to listed here.”

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Posted by Krin Rodriquez

Passionate for technology and social media, ex Silicon Valley insider.