Irving Roth, the founder and current Chairman of the Board of Argraph Corporation, the international supplier of innovative photographic / imaging products, is celebrating his 90th birthday.
It was almost 55 years ago that Argraph Corp. founder Irving Roth got his start as a photo distributor by selling camera bags, tripods and assorted photo accessories from the cramped closet of his Manhattan apartment. He was a devoted shutterbug who studied photography at the New York Institute of Photography. Roth had previously worked as a salesman at a camera store in the city after returning from Europe, where he served as a photographer in the Air Force during World War II.
As the now 90-year old Roth remembers it, post-war New York City was an exciting time and place for the photo industry. “After the war, people began discovering all the cameras that the Japanese were making,” Roth recalls. ”With companies like Nikon, Pentax and Olympus bringing out Single Lens Reflex cameras, it gave us an opportunity to get into the market, especially once the accessories began to grow. So while the principle of photography was still the same, the tools had changed and that created the whole photo industry.”
As an independent rep, Roth began to amass a variety of products and accessories, “Little odds and ends,” as he puts it. Without a warehouse or storeroom to put everything, he settled on what was the only alternative at the time – the closet of his apartment in the Stuyvesant Town section of New York City. “It’s hard to believe I started from a tiny closet in my home,” Roth says with a chuckle. Considering that today, Argraph is one of the top imaging distributors in the country with a 15,000-square-foot warehouse in Carlstadt, New Jersey, it is hard to believe it all began in such close quarters.
While the company is now run by his son Mark, who serves as president and CEO, the senior Roth is still very much involved in the business. “As the industry changes, there’s always a demand for something that makes it easier to enjoy photography,” Irving Roth says. “And that’s why I always searched the world looking for the latest most innovative and exciting products.”
“We are continuing our original core strategy in the new digital environment. Digital imaging products are in various stages of development. We are in the forefront of supplying these profitable items and encouraging our dealers to sell them to their customers. Our products help photographers to produce and enjoy better images, and help our dealers continue to grow and prosper.”