View Full Version : Bill, sad news: Marty Forscher, R.I.P.
May he rest in Peace.
Marty develope polaroid back for SLR cameras. I have used mine just one on a Canon F1N.
That guy was a hero to us amateur opto-mechanics. He inspire me to make all sorts of modifications and devices. I've missed him since he dropped off the scene, and will forever more now. Thanks for the report Canon.
Very sad news. I have to agree with Fred, he was great to everyone. He built a great team and the made some masterful magical stuff. May he rest in peace.
Marty, what an incredibly decent man. When I was in school in the mid 50's the center of the photographic universe was 480 Lexington Ave., the Grand Central Palace. Marty took care of your cameras. Axel Grosser souped your film in a one man (plus a receptionist) branch of Modernage. Katherine Ujeley Bertrand retouched the portraits of girls you wanted to impress (She had learned to retouch small film during WWII when there was no sheet film in Europe.). Actually, they were your family. And Sam Locker at Royaltone, the Fotocare of the Fifties, was the grouchy neighbor. And punk kids from New Jersey were treated as well as their heroes, many of whom they were introduced to at Marty's.
People forget, cameras were forever. Every year your cameras would get rotated through Marty's and get a CLA, clean, lubricate and adjust. I remember when one photographer had a camera smashed at a civil rights demonstration, Marty epoxied the main body casting and kept the camera going. Marty was repairing the cameras of the kids covering the movement for free.
If you were on the road and needed something repaired or customized, he moved on it, shipped it and trusted you would pay him when you got back.
Marty made the first thumb wind; actually it was an index finger wind, an arm that attached to the circular wind knobs of 35mm cameras with a hole that accepted your index finger and allowed you to spin the wind knob. By the time he moved up to 37 W. 47th in the diamond district, all 35 cameras had wind levers, but he started it. The 180 and 300mm Olympic Sonnars, movie camera lenses, were the long lenses of choice and Marty adapted them to everything from Visoflexes to Nikons. If you wanted that extra smooth focusing movement, he showed you how to temporarily replace the lubricant in the lens with valve grinding compound. When the Leicaflex first came out, there were no zoom lenses for it; so, he adapted Nikon lenses for it. When he first made Polaroid backs for Nikons, he made me a Canon "prototype" so I wouldn't feel left out.
I don't know how he did it, but Marty knew the name of every photographer that came into that shop. And it wasn't that he checked the name on the repair slip. If he saw you on the street, he called out your name. He didn't pretend to be your friend; he was your friend. What a kind, decent man. There are little pools of goodness in our tiny photo world and Marty's was one of them, thanks to Marty.
I started going to Marty at the age of 19 he treated me like I was a seasoned pro not a punk kid. I remember I had a Nikon F2 whose meter kept shorting out every 2 months or so upon my 3rd trip Marty took the camera out of my hands handed it to one of his repairmen and said find the problem now. Five minutes later Marty was tearing apart my camera found a short in the wiring fixed it I was out in 10 minutes never back again for that problem. Great man who loved what he did.
This brought tears to my eyes. He was an enormously nice guy, kind, generous and modest. Yes, he used to repair cameras for free (and recycle cameras donated by sympathetic pros) during the Civil Rights movement: water cannon today, back in the photographer's hands a few days later.
I remember once at the New York show (The Show Formerly Known As Viscomm) about 15-20 years ago a young fellow came to me at the Shutterbug stand to ask for advice about a minor Leica repair. I said, "I don't know the answer, but I know a man who does," and I led him over to Marty who was on the NPC stand.
Marty told him how to fix it, including what lubricant to use. The young man couldn't believe it: the great Marty Forscher himself had laid hands on his camera!
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