After 80 Years, Still Smiling on the Job

Fred Marcus, a longtime wedding photographer in New York, often said: “When the wedding photos are over, it will last forever.” So shall we be the relationship formed in that event. “

Decision later both statements are still true.

In January, Fred Marcus Studios marked 80 years in the business. The studio, which is always specialized in weddings, is one of the few multinational owned and run photography businesses in New York.

After more than seven decades on West 72nd Street, the company moved to its current 58th Street location in Columbus Circle in 2019. While doing so, he packed thousands of photographs, editions of digital archives, and memories created over the years.

They went from a 4,000-square-foot space operated 2,500 feet from three different floors, all on one level, making it more harmonious for everyone to work. For a month, they packed more than 300 boxes, containing 30 years of value negatives and digital content, most of which were stored in a single storage unit. They moved to the new location with more than a dozen cameras, lighting devices, large printers, photo backgrounds, and more than 50 albums that feature archive photos. The rent at their previous location was excessive, he said, and they needed a less expensive location.

In 1939, Fred Marcus was a 29-year-old survivor of the Holocaust living in Cuba. He earned money by taking pictures of families on the beach.

“He knew how to take photos and connect with people,” said his son Andy Marcus, 71, who lives on the Upper West Side with Judy Marcus, his wife, and the studio’s manager. “When I was younger I asked him why he got married. He took out the yellow pages and flipped commercial fashion photographers. They had pages. He then went to the wedding photographer. Only three or four were listed. He did not want to do anything else.

Fred Marcus was 31 years old in 1941, when he opened his studio in the basement floor in a building on West 72nd Street. His son was one at the time. Twelve years later, in an effort to keep Andy out of trouble, he turned her into a lighting assistant at the weddings he was shooting.

“Later we will swap the film used for the new film in the closet at 2 pm. We put a towel on the floor to prevent light from entering, ”said Andy Marcus. “We will talk about marriage. It was a great way to get to know him. “

Andy Marcus never left the business. After graduating in college, he started working in the studio full time. When his father was injured in a car accident in 1975, Andy Marcus stepped in.

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

While Fred Marcus spent seven months in the hospital, Andy Marcus was thriving. The first torch was passed.

“When I started, each photo required a flash bulb. Then you had to change the film, ”he said. He said, “Most photographs were 80 to 100 years old at the time of marriage. When digital came out in the early 2000s it changed everything. Now you can take 100 photos of bridal shoes. “

What has not changed are the customer’s wishes about what to occupy.

“We are known for expressive, well-published family portraits. It maintains our heritage, ”said Andy Marcus.

In 2001, Fred Marcus, then 91, died. Over the years Andy Marcus expanded the business, adding new energy, new ideas, increasing prices and increasing customers. The opacity and over-the-top events took place in the 80s and early 90s. “Weddings were bigger, there were more flowers, there were bigger bands, everything was on steroids,” Andy Marcus said.

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The wedding industry grew. Celebrities became clients. Today average packages start around $ 9,000 to $ 20,000, although some customers have spent more than $ 150,000.

Then, Andy’s son, Brian Marcus, who learned his father’s business the same way, joined the business in 2003, returning to the East Coast after college and a brief job as a production assistant at a film company in Los Angeles. I was working in

“It’s a job that’s been working diligently in my family forever,” said Brian Marcus, 42, who lives in Tenfeli, N.J. Brian Marcus, now president of the company, has been in business for two years. Took over when his father began to slow down. . His father still shoots weddings, meets with clients, selects photos and helps design albums.

“Being born into this, I already had a leg up because customers trusted me,” Brian Marcus said. They knew that I had the knowledge and ability. Then I had to maintain their trust and prove myself. Every day I work to honor my father and grandfather. “

Today, Andy or Brian are not included, they have six full-time employees. It includes two photographers who work in studios, cover weddings and handle production. Fifteen part-time employees help with photography, video and lighting.

They have photographed over 30,000 weddings, traveling around the world to capture the couple on film and video. Among those who said ‘I do’, he said: Mary Tyler Moore and Drs. Robert Levine, Billy Baldwin and Chinna Phillips, Eddie Murphy and Nicole Mitchell, daughter and granddaughter of Mario and Matildo Cuomo, and senators Chuck and Iris Schumer. She also photographed Donald Trump and Marla Maples and Ivanka and Jared Kushner’s wedding photos.

“My father knew to take a picture. After that you cannot see what you got to see if you caught a couple or cake or people dancing. You were confident that you would get the shot, ”said Andy Marcus, adding that the wedding and event business can be an all-consuming, seven-day-a-week job. “It is hard on your personal life. You can remember many weekends and holidays with your family as you are giving documents to other people celebrating them. “

But it is in these ceremonies that the Marcus family has spent a lifetime capturing and creating a generational footprint.

“Seventy years ago, Fred Marcus married my parents, and shot me 46 years ago,” said Judy Koffthal, 67, of the Bronx. “It was a long-term relationship. I know them all. They married my three sons. Fred, who was no longer working, came to my old son’s wedding just to hug him. This is a special thing. “

In the wedding industry, apathy is everything.

“My father had a wonderful way with the people. He told me never to call anyone a ‘smile’. Talk to them instead, ”said Andy Marcus. “He made connections. Then he kept them. I also did. So does Brian. That is how we continue it. So, we are still here.

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