Friday, April 11, 2008

A new one.

In the film 'Men in Black', Tommy Lee Jones gets all his weird info from the tabloid hack-rags. It's not that different in real life. Why? Well, the sensationalist papers are the most likely to print this stuff. Trouble is, they don't employ any kind of filtering so every weird tale from every weird teller gets through.

The first time I looked at this I thought 'Bah. Photoshop'. Yet reading on, it seems the photo was taken with a disposable camera and the image also appears on the negative.

There are ways around that, of course. Two slide projectors can produce a composite image, which you can then photograph. Or, a double exposure with the boy standing against a dark background. Harder to line up but not too hard.

I'd doubt the double exposure since those disposable cameras can't do that. Unless it was faulty. The two-slide-projector deal can be spotted on an original photo but not on a newspaper or Internet reproduction.

Now, I haven't seen the original and haven't even seen an image of the negative so I'll have to take that part on trust for now. Assuming, then, that there is a negative which also shows this picture, we're back to double exposure/double projector as a possible means of faking it.

Neither of those explanations work for the image reproduced here. On a negative, as on a projector screen, the light areas are the parts projected. Where it's dark, it means the light is blocked or there's little or no reflected light to photograph. In either case, it's the light areas that produce the image, not the dark ones.

So if you took a photo of the boy against a dark background, and projected it onto a screen along with the background, the boy's image would overlay the gate. He wouldn't appear to be behind it. The same would be true of a double exposure.

Looks good so far BUT... it is possible to buy devices that will take a computer generated image and put it onto a slide. Or a negative. These devices aren't rare - in fact, when I was lecturing we used them to put graphs and diagrams onto slides for teaching. That was before Powerpoint, of course. It could have been done that way.

I'm still very skeptical on this one for two reasons.

One, the photo isn't 'of' anything. It has no subject and gives the impression of being produced as a background. Okay, people often take random shots to use up the end of a film, so it could be one of those.

Two - and this is the big one - look at the alignment. Check the top of the gate against the posts surrounding the trees. The gate isn't leaning as much as it appears to be so the photo is tilted. Looking at the horizon, and especially at the houses, there's at least a five degree tilt here.

The boy is nearly upright. Unless he was leaning to his left while the photo was taken, he wasn't in that scene when it was photographed.

It looks good, but I'm tending towards a decision of 'no' for this one. I'd like to see the originals before dismissing it but on the basis of what I can see here, I'm not convinced.

2 comments:

Southern Writer said...

My mom bought tabloids all the time and believed everything she read in them. They "quoted" Nostradamus so often that I finally read the Quatrains, and from then on, I wondered how anyone could say he predicted this, that or the other. Maybe the translations are bad, I don't know. It's hard for me to say he defined anything specifically. People have been predicting the end of the world since the dawn of time, so I'm hard to convince. You know I absolutely do believe in ghosts, but those papers taught me to believe almost none of what I read, and only half of what I see. And since the creation of Photoshop, I can't even believe a tenth of what I see, unless I witness it with my own eyes. I agree with you on this one (as I usually do).

Romulus Crowe said...

Lots of people believe everything in those newspapers, which is why they get sued all the time. I wonder if some of those reporters ever leave the office! What people usually fail to realise is that newspapers aren't there to tell news, they're there to sell papers. What's in those papers is what sells, not what's important.

So we have people stabbed and shot, a global financial crisis, war and famine all over the place, and these tabloids are obsessed with a pop star who looks a bit too thin. Because that's what sells.

Fortunately they all have websites so there's no need to pay for them.

I have a copy of some of Nostradamus's quatrains and never made any sense out of them. Some of the 'interpretations' look like wishful thinking to me. I suspect he was just writing his drug dreams.

Well, the end of the world must come one day so someone's going to be right. It'll be hard for them to say 'Told you' though. I wonder if Adam looked around the garden of Eden, shook his head and said 'Very nice, but it won't last the week'. We're a doom-obsessed species.

Photoshop is a serious pain in the backside. It's far too easy to fiddle with images now. that's why I hope film cameras hang around. Still possible to fiddle with them but far more difficult.

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