Lino Manfrotto, the eponymous founder of Manfrotto, one of photography’s most popular camera and lighting support brands, died on Sunday at the age of 80. Passing away due to natural causes, Manfrotto was in the presence of several loved ones at his villa in Bassano, Italy.
Manfrotto’s life and career exemplified an unstoppable drive and dedication to the art of photography. Working as a newspaper photojournalist the late 1960’s, he had noticed that while lens and lighting technology were making steady advances, the equipment meant to secure them safely in position was laughably unreliable and difficult to wield. In reaction to this, Manfrotto began crafting his own clamps and supports for his friends and fellow local photographers. As demand grew, he found himself (in the vein of several iconic brands before and since) launching an entire company from his garage.
Over the decades the company grew from such humble beginnings to become a standard in film and photography kit. In 1974, after partnering with mechanical engineer Gilberto Battacchio, Manfrotto launched its first tripod. Earning a reputation for handling inclement weather conditions and heavy weight with ease, it was the product with which the company name would become synonymous. 15 years later, in 1989 the Manfrotto brand was sold in its entirety to the Vitec Group, under which it still functions today.
According to the newspaper, Il Giornale Di Vicenza, Francesco Bernardi, a friend and and former colleague of Manfrotto said of him on his passing, “He [Manfrotto] was a very correct person. A brave man, precise and very respectable.”