Ozzie Sweet, maybe the all-time numbers champ in terms of magazine cover photos died two weeks ago at age 94. I knew the name, but the obit by NY Times writer Bruce Weber was a mother lode of information. One of the three photos in the obit was a self-portrait from the 1980s, showing Sweet with a massive telephoto lens mounted on a Hasselblad, the rig supported on a tripod I recognized instantly – the Tiltall. That brought back a whole lot of memories since in the day, Tiltall was the definitive tripod. Made in New Jersey by the Marchioni Brothers and later licensed to Leitz for broader marketing, the Tiltall was beautifully made of machined aluminum, sturdy, durable, and with a full range of easy adjustments. I finally lost mine to the PanAm baggage system, and by then it had disappeared from the marketplace.
In writing this, I just discovered more about Tiltall, the Marchioni Brothers, and where the product has been and is now, courtesy of Gary Regester’s blog. FYI, you’ll learn more about Gary, whom I met 30 years ago and who was the first in the industry to come up with the collapsible soft-light bank.