1953 Eisenhower Stereo Slide Set of Inauguration
by David Starkman and Susan Pinsky
He was a man's man. A tough man. A man who played hard, worked hard, and enjoyed his drinks and women. Nobody told him what to do, and he worked for himself all of his life, as far as we know. Although we met John Meredith more than once, very late in his life, we have not (yet) been able to find any biographical information on him, such as his birth date, or what year he passed away.
1953 Stereo Realist display at Pan Pacific Auditorium with John Meredith by Harold Lloyd
The last time we saw him he was probably in his late 70's or 80's. As far as we could surmise he was a lifetime bachelor, and in his final years he lived in a small, and very modest apartment on South Stanley Avenue near Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles.
However, when we visited him he was happy to let us look through all of the stereo slides that he still had, and we were able to purchase a fair number of them. We wish now we had purchased more. His apartment could have used a good cleaning, but then it probably hadn't been touched in forty years. He told us stories that went back to the times of William Randolph Hearst, spending time hanging out with that group up at Hearst castle, in and around those opulent swimming pools, drinking hard, and enjoying life.
On October 11, 1988 he visited us in our Culver City home, along with fellow 3-D photographer and Stereo Realist public relations professional Marvin L. Rand. (Marvin wrote the chapter "Stereo In Business, Science and Education" in the "Stereo Realist Manual" - 1954).
So, why include him in 3-D Legends? While we don't know much about the man himself, he has left a worthy legacy of interesting 3-D images from the 1950s.
John Meredith middle of the street for Rose Parade by George Mann
Muscle Beach by John Meredith
Feeding the porpoise at Marineland of the Pacific in Palos Verdes, CA by John Meredith
Couple overlooking the California coastline by John Meredith (man holding Stereo Realist)
Two fashion models with the Golden Gate Bridge in backround by John Meredith
Muscle Beach 2 by John Meredith
First, we know that he was a professional portrait, glamour, and fashion photographer. (He wrote the chapter in the "Stereo Realist Manual" on "Portrait and Fashion"). He knew and photographed Hollywood celebrities, as well as wannabe starlets. Through his Hollywood friends, in the 1930s and 40s he was a guest at Hearst Castle parties. He showed us some black and white pictures of him posing in, and around, the pools at Hearst Castle! Wow, who gets to do that?!!
Skipping ahead to his 3-D years, we know that some time between the introduction of the Stereo Realist, and 1953, he was hired to take photos for the David White Company - the makers of the Stereo Realist Camera.
We know this because we have pictures of him at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, and in a field of yellow flowers. In both photos he is wearing a red and white varsity-style jacket with the words "Stereo Realist" embroidered in very large letters on the back. When looking at these slides with him, he told us that the David White paid him extra money to wear that jacket, and bonuses if it appeared in any press or publicity photos!
We surmise that he was one of the photographers who took, uncredited, photos for "The Stereo Realist Library of Original Slides". Almost all the photographers for that series were uncredited.
We know that he was working for Stereo Realist at least by 1953, as we have a photo of John at work, at the 1953 Inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Under magnification we could read the Press Credentials ribbon on his jacket, which indicates "1953 Inaugural" and "Reception". Based upon this we can assume that he was no doubt one of the uncredited 3-D photographers of the boxed set of stereo slides that David White Company produced to commemorate the inaugural. He had a certain style, so we've included some of those images that appear to have been taken by Meredith.
We also have pictures of John working at the 1953 Stereo Realist booth at a photographic trade show at the Pan Pacific Auditorium, in Los Angeles, taken by Harold Lloyd. He was friends with Harold Lloyd, George Mann, Kent Oppenheimer and Tommy Thomas, who often traveled around together shooting similar, but different perspectives of the same subjects, and each other.
Thus, we know that John Meredith not only worked for the company that made the Stereo Realist camera, and wrote a chapter in the "Stereo Realist Manual", he also has left us a legacy of wonderful 3-D images. Without any further text to write about him, those slides alone are worthy of a page on 3-D Legends.