Sunday, March 6, 2011

Unit and Publicity Still Hollywood Photographer: Otto Dyar

Otto Dyar was born on July 25, 1892 and began his career at Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation (which, of course, was just shortened to Paramount).  She shot many unit, publicity and fashion layouts of stars such as Claudette Colbert, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Shirley Temple, William Powell, Elizabeth Taylor, Anna May Wong, Kay Francis, Madeleine Carroll, Nancy Carroll, Alice Faye, Clara Bow, Loretta Young, Mitzi Green, Gloria Swanson, Cary Grant, Tallulah Bankhead, Louise Brooks, Gary Cooper, and Fay Wray.

He ended up working for other studios and was one of the first photographer's to do an outdoor setting, which was unusual at the time.  This was proposed by eventual Paramount photographer John Engstead.

His glamour photographs are as spectacular as any created by the Hollywood photographers of the time, including Hurrell and Bull. 

Dyar died at 96 on December 26, 1988 in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Recently, one of his unique portaits of Elizabeth Taylor has been shown at the prestigous National Portrait Gallery in New York.  And his originals also sell for in the thousands at auction and are worth every penny!

Two great photos of Anna May Wong.

Kay Francis

Claudette Colbert

Gloria Swanson
Ginger Rogers
Clara Bow

Carole Lombard

Claire Trevor

A copy of the back of the above Trevor photo.

Shirley Temple...

... and the stamp on back.

Another example of a back stamp.

Anna Lee in a 'key book' photo; the two hole punches on the left are proof that the photo most likely originated in a book of publicity (and other items) related to the film it represented.

The portait that was shown at the National Portrait Gallery of Elizabeth Taylor.

The photographer and his subject: Anna May Wong.


  1. These photos are fabulous. I can see why you're a fan of them. If it's okay with you, I may reference your site in one of my next photography posts... Thanks!

  2. Sure that would be fine with me! Thanks! Barb

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  5. Hello. I have 7 original photos that are stamped and signed by Otto. What should I do? Sell? Appraisal?

  6. Hi. I recently obtained 4 original photos by Otto that look like old fashioned silhouettes. They feature a woman primping in her dressing area In one she is attended by a maid. The figures are stark black with some grey translucent tones against stark white. Really striking. Do you know anything about these. They have his stamp and release from paramount for use on the back. Any idea as to the value- besides being gorgeous? Many thanks. Suzanne

  7. Hi. I recently purchased 4 original photos done by Otto for paramount with his stamp and release on backside. They are stark black figures against stark white on glassy paper. The image is a woman primping in her dressing area. In one she is attended by a maid. They look very much like old fashion silhouettes ( cut out from paper) but they are actual photos. Do you know anything about these? Do you have any idea as to their value aside from being absolutely gorgeous. Many thanks.