The Photograph Thread

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The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:55 am

I go through a lot of stuff online that falls between the cracks, and I want to highlight some weird photographs... Seems there isn't a dedicated photograph thread, so I'm starting one here with one of my all-time favorite images ever taken.


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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:42 am

This may be a fake, but it is an effective one which fooled people for decades:



This guy was caught on CCTV, and the truth could still go either way. I really want this to be the real deal, but know enough about video editing to assume the entire story of the Hampton Court spirit is a marketing ploy.


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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  Fran on Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:31 pm

I have a friend who used to do his own fake ghost photographs (just because he liked to, he never did anything with them) so he knows how they're all done. I know for a fact he can't explain the top one with the wee boy because I've seen that before. I'll get him to have a look at the other two and see what he thinks.
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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:16 pm

Photographs are tricky to verify when they are so old. There isn't a lot of subtlety in some fakes (the fairies that Conan Doyle believed is a case in point), so the neat ones are those which look too good to be fake.

I so want to believe the Lincoln photograph is real as well as the first one I posted...

There is no blur, so a double exposure is a possibility, but... It's so clean and neat that it may be the genuine article. There are images at Way Of The Woo but they don't seem to want to appear here.


Last edited by BigWords on Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : image won't show up)

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:59 am

hi , I don't have the photograph and it wasn't of a ghost (well strictly speaking not) but I remember seeing a colour photograph and everything in the photograph was clear apart from the guy's outline which was completely black like a sillouette and apparently he died a couple of days later. What would be the logical explanation for something like that?

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:02 am

PS by logical explanation I mean to cause the completely black, featureless outline...not the omen of doom it implied.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:33 am

My immediate reaction would be that a lighting issue is to blame. I've seen a technique where an entire room is clearly lit while the figure remains in shadow, mostly with directional lighting and careful blocking - this, of course, suggest a laborious hoax. The technique is a pain in the ass, and takes the better part of a day to get (at most) half a dozen worthwhile images.

An on-the-fly image, which hasn't been prepped, would most likely be a fluke. Hard to say without seeing the image itself. There was a famous screencap taken from the television show Millennium which shows the technique I mentioned above, with the figure of a demon descending a staircase. I'm sure Mario Bava also used the trick a couple of times. Putting these kinds of images through Photoshop normally throws up things that the naked eye can't see.

ps. The demon costume was hidden in darkness because of poor build quality, not for dramatic reasons. If you can find the image of the actor in one of the guide books you will see clear points in the suit where it was put together.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:12 am

Thanks for that. I also saw a group photograph where everyone apart from a girl who had been murdered (verified) was the only face out of focus. It was quite a high-profile case but the pic wasn't in the press but belonged to a fellow (to the girl) drama student. You obviously have an open mind as to the possibility that paranormal activity can potentially be captured on camera, do you also entertain the notion that photographs can be, at least , potentially predictive?

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:31 am

Mmmm-maybe... I guess that 80-90% of weird pictures have a clear explanation, especially those which required long exposure times. Modern photographs (and video, for that matter) are slightly harder to pin down to a scientific explanation. There have been unexplaned phenomena since the earliest days of photography, but better cameras and a clearer understanding of the trickery used to create fakes has made people look closer at supposed 'mysteries' that turn up.

I have seen images which are supposedly 'projected' onto film by some form of telekinesis, and there is a famous image of a moving image (Margaret Fleming's celebrated negative - I'll look for a copy). My opinion is still undecided on precognition as a general term, but there are things which can't be explained. Once somebody wins the million-dollar prize for supernatural proof I'll decide. Smile

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:28 pm

Eidetic Imagery by Prof. E.R. Jaensch (out of print I think) has some explanations that cover simple manipulations, in-camera tricks and post-production tinkering, whilst giving credence to a handful of images IIRC. I'd have to dig out my copy to check, but I don't think much got past him.
Conan Doyle's The Case For Spirit Photography (1922) is easy to rip holes into, and I won't waste time explaining the (many) problems with his naievity.

Fate (June 1976) has the Fleming pictures, but I can't find a digital copy.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:30 pm

Don't mean to be gauche and in no hurry to display my lack of intelligence. I am, admittedly, not the most observant but what is it I am missing in the top pic that everyone seems so fascinated by. To me it looks like a kid poking his head out of an airing cupboard, perhaps during a game of hide and seek. The mass below him in the image I am seeing is too obscure to say it is this or that such as a pile of clothes or the body belonging to the seemingly disembodied head.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:54 pm

There has been a couple of TV specials about that image. There were no children in the house while the photographs were taken (there were a bunch of images taken) and there was no way the image could have been tampered with between the time it was taken and the realization the boy was in the picture. From examination of extant pictures of the children of the family who died there, it is assumed by most researchers to be one of the brothers who appears in the photo. Considering they died some years earlier, that is an impressive feat.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:58 pm

how do they know for certain there were no children in the house at time of photo? What is the story of the family who died?

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:08 pm

GhostStudy.com has the official story, which is that the image was found while looking through pictures for a book on the subject. Ghosts Of The Prairie explains the history of the Amityville case, in rather more detail than it needs IMHO, though it's nice to see a reference to the money some people are making off the back of so many deaths. Ignoring financial motives sometimes brings people to the conclusion that the Hollywood tripe has some legitimacy.

Morbidly Hollywood is yet another run-through of the case, but is worth checking out for the photograph at the bottom of the page, which clearly shows the house in relation to its' surroundings. I love the clarity, because it brings up a lot of questions that nobody has answered - such as the shotgun not being heard next door. Slightly Warped (which has some other great stories) has a knack of muddying the waters with additional information to other references. The three year gap which it brings up is generally held to be the difference between the initial discovery of the image and its' exposure to the public at large.

Snopes dismantles the lies from the Jay Anson book. Any credibility he - or George Lutz for that matter - had before the analysis of facts was destroyed comprehensively a few years back. It kinda reminds me of the 'true stories' which formed around Borley Rectory, with each retelling adding another layer of fiction to the case. It's a good thing that I have never been paid to get to the bottom of this particular story, or I would have strapped both Anson and Lutz into lie detectors and forced them to tell the truth about what did and what didn't happen...

I'm pretty sure (nearly, almost) that The True Amityville Horror (or whatever it ended up being called) paperback from the late nineties had an interview with the coroner, the photographer of the image and a few people who knew the children. Darkside magazine covered aspects of the story off and on, and for the really obsessive types there is also a couple of issues of the now defunct Samhain which ran with the story. Paranormal Researchers of America had an excellent piece on the story, but it ain't located at the site where it used to be... The linked articles should be a good starting place for information though, even if the truth is buried in money-making schemes and hangers-on.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:39 pm

again thanks. I seem to recall something about the whole amytiville thing sounding (from what little I had read) like little more than a bunch of inebriated teenagers, a quite spooky house and the thing gaining momentum before any embellishment, Hollywood or otherwise. I could be wrong but that particular story does not inspire me to research it much further from what little I do not know about it. The wider subject of the photographs I could potentially find fascinating but, alas, have little to offer in the way of technical ability or well-readness on the matter. I will tune in from time to time to see if there are further developments (ha ha) and maybe anything I can contribute to.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:13 pm

tonight something occurs; I used (and am sure I am not alone) to be able to tell which photos in the press were of the deceased. I am sure there are great tomes already dedicated to this topic but as this is the 1st photo thread I have been involved in and because the topic was not a particular one of mine and yet is interesting and not JUST because it is a minority of ...er...well...one? What can I do? But I swear, today, again, it was obvious who was deceased and who accused. It is not as trite as saying they died long ago so look dated in the image or the accused looks shifty. One medium describes the eyes of the deceased as looking flat in print but I think that is a simplistic though possibly partly there explanation. Do you have a theory or a feeling on this? For example do you tend to know who in press photos are dead?

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:48 pm

There are a number of things that stand out if you have seen thousands of photographs of the deceased, but for me there are a few ways to tell if the subject is of a living person acting dead, or if the person is actually dead. There tends to be a slackness of the face, not just that the muscles aren't defined in some way, but... It's hard to describe. The eyes are usually a giveaway if the eyes are open, because I've seen eyes pointing in different directions. There is a photograph from a few years ago of a russian woman who fell from a balcony and there is NO way that anyone could have guessed she was dead from the photograph. It depends as much on the person as it does the photograph.

If you are familiar with memento mori, then these are easier to tell:



The girl is completely in focus, while her parents (due to the shutter time on the camera) are slightly blurry. There are more memento mori photographs hosted at Cogitz.
WARNING: There are pictures of dead Victorian children.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:14 am

Hi,

That is very interesting. I will look up that site later. ...I don't think I made myself very clear earlier. I was not talking of photos of people post mortem but photos in newspapers, say, of people who were subsequently deceased but very much alive at the time of being pictured. More often than not I seem to be able to tell at a glance that this is the case regardless of headlines or text and I am sure this is a far from unusual phenomenon.

The stuff that you are talking about, though, throws open a whole new area for me. I will look into it.

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:15 am

Well, I'm still adamantly refusing to pay attention to most newspapers, but I see what you mean. I've never really thought much about simply knowing that a pictured individual has subsequently passed on, but there are traditions (ranging from the Native American to spiritualist) that a photo can reveal the soul. I'm unsold on the idea, though I know a couple of people who can see 'auras' as well as other things.

A flat reading, with photographs of people who are not in the public eye, and a balanced range of test subjects, would probably settle the notion for some, but I still can't manage any sort of foresight along that line. Maybe I'm too cynical? (yet believe, funnily enough, try to believe in plenty of crypto-zoology and quasi history)
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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  marie on Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:46 pm

Some of those pics were ghastly and monuments to death, others like the cherub mirror-image one were like idealised works of art and others (such as the one of the three women ; presumably the deceased in the middle) you wonder why anyone would want such a memento with such unphotogenic subject matter. Who would want to be reminded of such a time...and yet there were those who evidently did.

But these victorian primary sources are more understandable, given their place in history, than the order of service of 2006 at a 12 year old boy's funeral in Wales which had a post-mortem image of him on the cover, eyes at half mast. I did not understand then and don't now what that was about but grief does strange things to people.

Oh, I prefer my cats' eyes in the plural!

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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  Fran on Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:46 pm

Thanks, BigWords, for that vision of hell. Very Happy
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Re: The Photograph Thread

Post  BigWords on Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:06 am

Fran wrote:Thanks, BigWords, for that vision of hell. Very Happy

Be thankful I don't have my Gilbert & George folder on my laptop. cyclops

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