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Away out where the men are men, down in El Paso, that is where they call me a yodeling hobo - Gene Autry, "The Yodeling Hobo"

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

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Offline pixelpusher

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #90 on: February 19, 2010, 08:55:40 AM »
Hi everybody,

Hope this hasn't been debunked elsewhere on this forum - but I've only recently discovered the Vanity Fair article from 2 years ago, and it seriously bugs me.

Quickly - my main points:

A. There seems to be a glaring inconsistency between the Vanity Fair stories.
B. You don't need to know who the men in the photo are, because it's clear that it has been tampered with.

Supporting A. - the picture in the first Vanity Fair story shows the photo of the 2 men, with the picture clearly torn in "Robert Johnson's" forehead area.  The "evidence" analyzed by Lois Gibson, the forensic examiner, shows the photo with "RJ's" forehead intact.  Which is the "real" photo?  Was one of them doctored, altered, or retouched?

Here are the links for the 2 stories:
http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/11/johnson200811?currentPage=1
http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2008/10/a-disputed-robert-johnson-photo-gets-the-csi-treatment.html

Supporting B. - the lighting on "Shines" is inconsistent with the lighting on "RJ", and it's clear that the 2 men have been assembled from 2 different photos (the cut is right down the middle, between them.)  For this, you need a bit of an eye, so I've illustrated what I mean with arrows and captions, and also provided the original, and where the cut happens.

And, beyond what I've indicated there's at least one other specific area on "Shines" that shows photoshopping, but I just haven't had enough room here...

My explanations are short, and possibly unclear, so I'll clarify them if anybody's interested...

Note: I've blown up the image with the captions so as to be more clear, but it's all visible right at the size of the original Vanity Fair web posting, which I've provided as well...
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 09:03:29 AM by pixelpusher »

Offline Stumblin

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  • Got the Blues, can't be satisfied
Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #91 on: February 25, 2010, 12:33:15 AM »
My explanations are short, and possibly unclear, so I'll clarify them if anybody's interested...
Okay, I'll bite.
Please explain the deal with the forehead, I totally don't understand that part.

Offline pixelpusher

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #92 on: September 07, 2010, 05:45:32 AM »
Okay, I'll bite.
Please explain the deal with the forehead, I totally don't understand that part.

Hi Stumblin

The 2 links in my original post point to the 2 Vanity Fair articles online.  The first link is to the original story about Zeke Schein's ebay "find".

The second link is to a follow-up article in Vanity Fair that describes what a forensic examiner had to say about the find.

The first article (and link) shows the full picture in question - notice that this picture or scan is damaged.   There are tears and scuffs, and specifically a major tear at the level of "RJ's" forehead.

The second article shows a close-up of "RJ's" entire head, and specifically the forehead, but that area appears to be *intact*.

Who would have doctored, or photoshopped the second image?

What makes matters worse, is that Lois Gibson (the forensic examiner) is specifically quoted as saying that this area, when compared with the accepted "Photobooth portrait", is *the most salient feature* that makes her believe the authenticity of the RJ-Shines candidate.

Put another way, what she calls it a ?square bony eminence? in her analysis (the 2nd VF article), is an area that is torn (and therefore not presentable as hard evidence) in the "original" RJ-Shines "picture" !!!!!



Even so, and beyond that point - all you need to do is look at "Shine's" right shoulder (on our left) down to his elbow area - and you will see that the shadows are just wrong, wrong, wrong....


And sorry for the very late reply - I checked for responses in the first few days after my post, but didn't see anything, so just forgot to come back.


Offline oddenda

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #93 on: September 07, 2010, 08:36:48 PM »
I still think that the pair is B.B. King and Willie Nix!!

Peter B.

Offline pixelpusher

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #94 on: September 08, 2010, 03:57:25 AM »

@ oddenda - agreed for BB !

Also agree with someone in a previous post that I'd much rather see some footage of Blind Willie McTell or Blind Willie Johnson at work than 10 new pictures of RJ !  (But then again, if I think about it, how wierd is it to want to see a picture or film of someone who was himself.... blind.  A strange irony there.... ::))

Offline jumbo shrimp pete munroe

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #95 on: February 28, 2011, 06:10:52 AM »
hello all. I'm basically a lurker and I've read this thread a few times over the last year or so and I have a question.

The picture on page one posted by BlindSockeye...has that been proven to be a fake? Because that is obviously RJ. There's virtually no difference in facial structure with the studio photograph. But I don't see anyone mention it again in this thread.

Was it sold on Ebay? Was it a fraud? Just wondering becuase I'm fascinated by mysteries involving the old blues musicians

Offline CF

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #96 on: February 28, 2011, 07:41:22 AM »
I don't know what pics of Rob Johnson you've seen but the above photo looks like a much more 'pretty-faced' fella than any pic of R. Johnson I've seen.

EDITED TO ADD:

I'm sorry, you meant that other picture that NO ONE thinks is Robert Johnson except the person trying to sell it.
Right.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 08:09:27 AM by cheapfeet »
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline LD50

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #97 on: February 28, 2011, 08:35:52 AM »
I think the guy on the left is Lane Hardin. Prove me wrong.

Offline TonyGilroy

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #98 on: February 28, 2011, 12:53:05 PM »
Be cool if it turned out to be Harvey Hull.

Offline jumbo shrimp pete munroe

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #99 on: March 01, 2011, 05:46:26 AM »
Just to be clear, I mean the picture on the first page of "Robert Johnson" in the white hat with it tilted to the left. That is either a fake or it's RJ. Just look at that pic compared to the one on the boxset cover. Same eyes and facial structure.

As far as the Vanity Fair pic of those two guys, I don't think the guy on the left is RJ.

Sorry if this has been done to death but this stuff fascinates me

Offline Harry

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #100 on: March 01, 2011, 12:15:05 PM »
Just to be clear, I mean the picture on the first page of "Robert Johnson" in the white hat with it tilted to the left. That is either a fake or it's RJ. Just look at that pic compared to the one on the boxset cover. Same eyes and facial structure.

As far as the Vanity Fair pic of those two guys, I don't think the guy on the left is RJ.

Sorry if this has been done to death but this stuff fascinates me


Fascinates me too. Perhaps the box-Set coming out in april (The Complete Original Masters: Centennial Edition) will provide new photos. Stephen Lavere has done extensive research but it's Mack McCormick who has a third picture although I read in a dutch blues magazine that it's not sure where that picture is located right now.



Offline CF

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #101 on: March 01, 2011, 12:23:48 PM »
That's the one I was talking about in my edited to add part. That guy does not look like Robert Johnson. I've said this elsewhere & got in shit for it but . . . I think maybe a lot of modern folk think that black men in old photos all look the same. Or at least that really seems the case to me.

This stuff is fascinating when people who know the difference use methods & experience to make educated comments on historical material. It's depressing that anybody can find a vintage shot & baldly claim they are such & such a historical figure (& just happen to be that person's ONLY reference to the era) & the majority take it as gospel . . . as if every picture we find today necessarily HAS to be of or related to our small frame of reference. I find it very embarrassing, obviously  ::)
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Harry

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #102 on: March 01, 2011, 01:03:45 PM »
No that's not the one I mean. In "Searching for Robert Johnson" (the book not the DVD) Peter Guralnick explains that McCormick showed him a few pictures (1976);

The next photograph shows a young man in a sailor's uniform, obviously pleased, obviously proud, with another man, very slightly older, standing beside him, his arm draped affectionately around the sailor's shoulder. The sailor, Mack McCormick tells me, is Robert's nephew, Louis, at home in memphis, on his first leave from the navy base in Norfolk where he was stationed in 1936-37. Later he would be transferred up to Annapolis and that was how his mother and his aunt Bessie would eventually move up to the Maryland area, where McCormick found them. Louis was very close to his uncle, and in fact, when McCormick visited Carrie in 1972, was so disturbed by the conversation that he retreated into his room and refused to come out. And the other man in the picture? The man in the sharp pin-striped suit? That, of course, is Robert Johnson. I stare and stare at the picture, study it, scrutinize it, seek to memorize it, and for my very efforts am defeated...............

Offline amusia

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #103 on: March 01, 2011, 02:36:25 PM »
This is the one I've seen...

Offline dj

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Re: New 3rd picture of Robert Johnson ?
« Reply #104 on: March 01, 2011, 03:47:14 PM »
Quote
I think maybe a lot of modern folk think that black men in old photos all look the same. Or at least that really seems the case to me.

I suppose that could be the case, but I think it's more the human tendency, when confronted with an old photograph, to want it to be of some famous person or time or place - for it to have significance to something they know about.

 


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