Harold Lloyd, born on 20th April 1893 was an American producer, actor and photographer. He mostly acted in silent comedy films for which he was highly famous. Lloyd ranks next to Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin as being among the most admired comedians in the film industry at the time.
In a bomb attack, Lloyd lost his forefinger and thumb. It was 1919, when the actor aged 26 was posing on the sets of Haunted Spooks for a publicity photograph. The bomb which was meant to be fake, actually destroyed everything at that moment. It injured his assistants and him, as well as blew the roof of the set. The whole scenario of unsafe measures made Lloyd suspicious of working again in movies but till the 1930s he continued to act.
For eight whole months, the actor became blind but as and when he was cured he started making movies. Among the films he produced, some were amazing, such as Girl Shy, 1924; and Safety Last, 1923. Apart from writing, directing and producing – Lloyd explored other fields of work and he found himself fascinated by photography. The actor cum producer, was interested in stereoscopic photography. In his pastime he spent his hours capturing 3D images.
Harold Lloyd was always seen with a camera and his love for 3D grew even more after seeing its prints. For him the images gave a real effect, as if the viewer was in the picture himself. His photos were in color and 3D always, he never took monochromatic pictures or used a flat camera. Instead, he used a camera with two lenses that exposed two frames at a time.
The pair of exposures were then placed on paper framed with glass and aluminum that were viewed like slides through a magnifying glass. When the images were seen in this manner, they appeared as a single 3D photo with the background and foreground different from one another.
Even for his photographic career, Lloyd’s association with the Hollywood really helped him. Popular people from the industry were enthusiastic about being photographed. Stars such as Mary Pickford and Alan Ladd were included in the list, as well as some unknown people. In 1952, Marilyn Monroe was brought by Jean Negulesco, a director who shot How To Marry a Millionaire with Monroe as her first sequence. After some weeks, Philippe Halsman who was a friend of Lloyd asked him to accompany Halsman to capture photographs of Monroe for the magazine cover of Life. Both the photographers took pictures of the new actress who was destined to be one of the most popular personalities of Hollywood. These pictures had launched Monroe’s career.
In the 1950s, Lloyd founded the Hollywood Stereoscopic Society along with Edgar Bergen, Ronald Colman, Sterling Holloway and Dick Powell. When Lloyd had no model to photograph, he used to take images of his young granddaughter however she used to feel bored from the activity of posing.
Harold Lloyd also traveled to several locations with his granddaughter and wife whom he married in 1923. He always carried his camera with him and captured images of Seattle’s Space Needle, Grand Canyon, and Golden Gate Bridge.
In the 1960s, he joined a group of five males and two females who travelled throughout America capturing 3D images – the Happy Seven. Lloyd’s work contained nudes posing in nature – women on red sand in California’s Mojave Desert, women in waterfalls and mountain streams.
At the time of his death in 1971, Lloyd had collected more than 280,000 slides.