Marc Schultz, a Gazette photographer for 36 years, has two unique perspectives to view his career through: from behind his camera and as the son of longtime Gazette photographer Ed Schultz. Between the two of them, they have 102 working years between the Schenectady/Daily Gazette and the Schenectady Union-Star.
Escorted by his father, the younger Schultz first met John G. Green on Election Day 1962, quipping that it was a “pleasure to meet a man who buys ink by the barrel.”
It was the day he started to understand what his father did for a living by working at a newspaper. It is also the day the younger Schultz began taking steps toward starting his own career with The Gazette.
“In his office at the Schenectady Gazette, the tall, extremely stern-faced man pulled his tobacco pipe from his mouth, and chuckled very hard. … Green motioned to me to follow him outside of 332-334 State St. to the steel railing across the street from Harry Leva’s [and] Baum’s Newsroom. He told me to turn and scan the streetscape 360 degrees. He said ‘There are so many gold nuggets to dig up out there, and that I was in one of the finest cities north of NYC,’ continuing, “through your life, find the nuggets for history’s sake, and what is truly happening here.’ Next thing he said was, ‘Eddie, take the kid up to the second floor.’ I yelled to Mr. Green, ‘I’ll be back!’ ”
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A few years later, the younger Schultz began shooting some sports events for The Gazette. “Besides photography, being an avid young philatelist at the time, I bartered photos for all the opened mail that came into The Gazette, for the stamps that were on them. And the mail at that time was overwhelming!”
While Schultz accepted positions as a mechanic at both General Electric and Mohawk Honda, he admits “ … I always wanted to be able to get back the first love in my life: photography. I carried a Leica camera around my neck like an insurance policy.”
Schultz began working part-time for The Gazette in 1982, and went full time in 1983. Thirty-six years later, he still finds his job extremely fulfilling.
“The reporters, Tri-City area people, places and things just keep turning into the positive. To be able to document this all with a camera is [an experience] second to none,” he explains. “ … [I] have captured images that I desire and hold close to me. Granted, the terribly sad events must be told, but they are outweighed by the happy situations I search for each day. To this day I continue to chase fires, ambulances, police calls, for this is the best job in the world!”
Schultz says that some of the old Gazette mottos — “All the News with Integrity,” “Distinctively Different,” “Responsive and Responsible” — often play through his head as he’s driving to assignments or looking for an enterprise photo. They’re the three things he strives to capture in each photo he takes. “When you have a readership that could fill a huge modern football stadium, you have to be honest, fair and factual at all times,” he says. “It’s a Zen to me.”
Along with 36 years of fulfillment comes 36 years’ worth of humorous happenings while on assignment. Schultz shared a few of his favorites.
“Gov. Nelson Rockefeller campaigning at Shop-O-Rama on Altamont Avenue, telling me I needed a third camera around my neck. I barked back, ‘I do, with a much wider angle!’ He then told me to say hello to Gazette editorial secretary Jean Ball.” Schultz still wonders how the two of them knew each other.
He also recalls being the only person onstage with legendary comedian George Burns at Proctors one morning. “George was going over and over his routine with cigar smoke and one key light on him, [while] sitting on [a] chair. No way he could see me, on the ground shooting upward at him. I was sure all he kept hearing was my shutter clicking. After four minutes of shooting, I stopped and laid on my back just listening to him for a good 20 minutes. As my relaxed mind was fading, I hear this earth-shaking yell from him, ‘Hey Kid! Go get me a [expletive] glass of water now!’ While drinking the water, he stated he was heading for a nap, but we chatted for a good time about Schenectady and vaudeville. Visually, I could see he missed his wife, Gracie, dearly, while on the vaudeville topic. He was so humble.”
Schultz has stories about actors, athletes, business leaders and criminals, too.
“Vincent Gardenia, who played the father of Cher’s character in ‘Moonstruck,”’demanded from Proctors [that] I walk him down Erie Boulevard to see the General Electric lights one night. Got his lowdown about when he was a child and his father worked here, and that was about the only thing he recalled from his past in this great city.
“Mike Tyson clipped my leg with his new Ferrari in Albany’s Washington Park.
“Neil Golub gave me the best tongue-lashing because, unknowingly daydreaming, I was in his line of sight on the green of the seventh hole of the Gazette Seniors Golf Tournament.” In reality, Schultz loves the guy.
For the foreseeable future, Schultz not only plans to continue filling frames and being there, but also feeling at home at The Gazette, which indeed still purchases “ink by the barrel.”
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