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Author Topic: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"  (Read 37810 times)

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Offline Stumblin

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #120 on: February 04, 2013, 06:22:14 AM »
I was just very surprised to see the news item today, thought the story and photo had been debunked a couple of years ago.
So I thought I'd seek guidance from this learned assembly. I wasn't trying to start any speculative guessing games, just curious as to the current state of play.

Offline jrn

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #121 on: February 04, 2013, 06:48:36 AM »
Ha! Yeah they gotta mention the absurd selling of his soul story right off the bat, dont they. Wonder why they didn't consult with the blues historians who have spent decades researching RJ? There's still people around who knew Shines personally. I wonder if Honeyboy ever saw this particular photo. I'm certainly no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel like its neither one of them in that photo. Not even close. Honeyboy said that RJ had a bad left eye, kept his hat pulled down over it.

Does anybody know why the media has always considered Eric Clapton THE authority on RJ?

Jason
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #122 on: February 04, 2013, 07:01:17 AM »
Here we go round the mulberry bush, yet again.

This photo started floating around the web in about 2004/5 and was shown to Robert Lockwood and Honeyboy Edwards they did not recognize either of the men. I think one of them also commented that their attire was 1940s, which would rule out RJ.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #123 on: February 04, 2013, 07:46:11 AM »
Jubi posted the following link over at IGS:

http://www.robertjohnsonbluesfoundation.org/sites/rjohnson/files/110414_affidavit.jpg

Falls into the "Someone Said" category.

Offline jrn

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #124 on: February 04, 2013, 07:50:26 AM »
Here we go round the mulberry bush, yet again.

This photo started floating around the web in about 2004/5 and was shown to Robert Lockwood and Honeyboy Edwards they did not recognize either of the men. I think one of them also commented that their attire was 1940s, which would rule out RJ.

Ah! Thanks BH! Who would know better than those two, right? Nuff said.
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline wreid75

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #125 on: February 04, 2013, 08:02:05 AM »
Well if we cant be absolute certain than why try?  What is the point?  The experts that nab criminals are not blues researchers so their opinion is not valid.  I will get some of my social network friends to write a rebuttal now to discredit the research. >:D

Offline Stuart

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #126 on: February 04, 2013, 08:40:14 AM »
Well if we can't be absolute certain than why try?

It's not that we shouldn't try, it's just that someone's opinion--even that of someone with recognized expertise--shouldn't be passed off as certainty.

A good example is the statement that no two fingerprints are the same. In order for that to be true with absolute certainty, every fingerprint would have had to have been compared with every fingerprint that ever existed, and even then it wouldn't rule out the possibility of future fingerprints being the same as other future fingerprints, existing, or past fingerprints. Welcome to the world of "probability."

In Oregon in 2004 Brandon Mayfield arrested for the Madrid train bombings on fingerprint evidence that just wasn't true. So much for expert forensic opinion and the "absolute certainty" of the artificial assumptions it is based on.

Offline wreid75

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #127 on: February 04, 2013, 10:22:22 AM »
Stuart I see where you are coming from but if even fingerprints wouldn't satisfy the masses about identity then really why try?  By the same token one could say it wasn't Robert Johnson (hypothetically if he had a twin) even with DNA evidence because we couldn't ever be sure it was the same person since twins are so hard to tell apart with dna since they are literally a clone.  At some point we either say "nope, I ain't gonna believe none of this unless RJ comes back to earth tap dancing on water admitting to it" or we can say "Sure seems plausible, the evidence would sure stand up in court"  (I know people are wrongfully convicted, ger)

Offline dj

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #128 on: February 04, 2013, 10:44:24 AM »
Well put, Stuart.

In answer to the "why try" question, I'd add that not every question is answerable.  Sometimes the best you can say is "There's about a 50% probability that the man in this picture is Mr. X."  But even if that's all you can say, research to nudge that probability to 75% or 25% is absolutely worthwhile.  Adding a little to what we know is always worthwhile.

The important thing is to remain impartial when weighing the evidence about something like this.  You can't just say "I'm a big Benny Goodman fan.  I have a photo of a white guy from somewhere around 1940 wearing glasses and playing the clarinet, therefore it must be Benny Goodman."  You have to weigh the pros and cons in the information you have and, if possible, seek out more information to validate or invalidate your hypothesis.

It seems to me that we've been through this elsewhere before, but I'll lay out the pros and cons of the Guardian's identification of this picture:

Pro:
  The man on the left has fingers and facial features consistent with those of Robert Johnson

Con:
   The man on the right is almost certainly not Johnny Shines
   Both Robert Lockwood and Honeyboy Edwards, who knew Johnson and Shines, were shown the photo.  Neither man recognized either of the men in the photo.
   The clothes the men in the picture are wearing seem to date from after Robert Johnson's death
   The man holding the guitar is not fingering a chord.  In most posed photos of guitarists where the guitar is in playing position, the guitarist will finger a chord

To be verified:
   What's the provenance of the photo?  Mississippi?  Atlanta?  Hartford, Connecticut?
   What percentage of the population of the US population c. 1940 had a squint in one eye?
   How prevalent are the facial ratios that were used to ID the man on the left?
   Can a fashion expert verify the date of the clothes? 
   And etc.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 10:46:02 AM by dj »

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #129 on: February 04, 2013, 11:44:51 AM »
Journalists should not be allowed to authenticate anything.

Alex

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #130 on: February 04, 2013, 12:29:28 PM »
Re Stuart's link...

As someone who has had occasion, professionally, to consider and make judgments about forensic reports, I was immediately taken by the very reserved assertion made in that document.  "reasonable certainty" is pretty weak in the context of such reports, and certainly should not be taken as even the expert having a very firm and clear conclusion.

Offline wreid75

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #131 on: February 04, 2013, 01:55:20 PM »
 How many times has reasonable certainty been used to convict someone.  Reasonable certainty - OJ Simpson

I am not saying I buy it hook line and sinker but I am open to this approach.  He looks more like RJ than anyone looks on the surveillance footage from a 7-Eleven robbery...........................jus saying O0

Offline jpeters609

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #132 on: February 04, 2013, 02:01:38 PM »
I have suspicions about the photo itself, beyond my doubts about the figures represented.

My guess is that neither Vanity Fair, nor anyone else for that matter, has ever seen or handled the "actual" photo. I would be very surprised if anyone has ever seen anything other than a scan. I say this because, if you look at the full image in the original Vanity Fair story, it looks very much like TWO photos spliced together (probably not physically spliced, but merged together using PhotoShop). The two figures simply appear to be from different photos -- the lighting is different, the placement of the feet is different (the "Johnny Shines" figure, for instance, has his right foot raised and resting on something -- right where "Robert Johnson's" left foot is placed!) Shines' right foot and leg are in front of Johnson, but Johnson's left arm, upper torso, and guitar are in front of Shines. It just looks completely unnatural and faked. The background, too, looks different, though this is obscure. Many of the "tears," I suspect, were strategically added via PhotoShop to cover some of the more noticable mistakes. (I believe much of this has been discussed elsewhere on the forum.)
 
There has long been rumored to be (by some Robert Johnson or Johnny Shines acquaintance)  a missing photo of the two men together. It had supposedly been taken outside, by a newspaper photographer, and it supposedly showed Robert and Johnny "horsing around" and wearing each other's hats. I think someone found two photos that looked like he could manipulate to "become" this missing photo -- the clincher being that each of these guys is wearing a different colored hat. Of course, this "combined" photo is not taken outside, nor are they horsing around.
 
The photo itself, as a representation of two men standing side by side (no matter who they might be) looks faked, which begs the question: if you have a REAL photo of Robert Johnson, why fake it into a photo of Robert Johnson AND "Johnny Shines"?

At any rate, I too thought this photo and its debate had been settled, or at least allowed to fade away. But if Getty Images has purchased it, you can bet we will be seeing more instances of this picture being used as a representation of Robert Johnson.
Jeff

Offline harriet

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #133 on: February 04, 2013, 02:39:36 PM »
@ Jeff there's several other things and yes I don't think its been made available front and back. I noticed that the alleged Shines face has an underbite, small teeth whereas Shines had nice big teeth an an overbite and in the original alleged photo the lower bout of the guitar is patched in over the "Johnson" hand, which looks like no hand I have ever seen -  the fingertips are flush and photos of young people with that "spiderhand" that I found resemble the ones in the first two photos, not alot wideness to them.

Additionally The  Guardian quote and referred to  affidavit are not the whole story, they did not include the the report she made both verbal and written to Mr Kitchens. Ms. Gibson is quoted in the Vanity Fair article about her  written results as reported to Kitchen as saying  on page 6 -

 ?My only problem with this determination is the lack of certainty about the date of the questioned photo,? she wrote in her report to Kitchens. But, she continued, if Schein?s photo ?was taken about the same time as, or a little earlier than,? the photo-booth self-portrait, ?it appears the individual in [Schein?s photo] is Robert Johnson. All the features are consistent if not identical.?

That the report was not posted along with the affidavit, then  I am both a skeptic and a cynic about this photo -IMHO the goal was not an unbiased examination of the photo to determine its truth but rather what would it take to get people to believe what the owners of the property wanted them to, which to my mind explains why so may things that are wrong with it are being ignored.

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/11/johnson200811

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Johnson & Shines photo "authenticated!"
« Reply #134 on: February 04, 2013, 02:41:56 PM »
Reasonable certainty, legally, ought never to convict someone in either US or UK law...  You need "beyond reasonable doubt".

 


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