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Author Topic: New Robert Johnson photo?  (Read 2820 times)

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Offline ZigZagWanderer

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New Robert Johnson photo?
« on: December 22, 2015, 08:55:20 AM »
http://www.mysanantonio.com/enterta...ed-6703035.php?cmpid=fb-desktop#photo-9125991


A newly-analyzed photo purportedly shows Robert Johnson, the mysterious blues legend whose meager recordings became a groundwork for American popular music.

Only two such photos have been unequivocally confirmed, and the prospect of another is held as a holy grail in blues society.

 


Offline jrn

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 10:33:33 AM »
I really wish Mrs Gibson would stop. This is getting ridiculous.
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline dj

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 01:15:58 PM »
1:  There's a supposedly authenticated photo of Calletta Craft in the booklet that came with the first release of the RJ Complete recordings CD set.  The photo there looks NOTHING like the woman identified as Calletta in the article linked above.  Different chin, different nose - you wouldn't mistake the woman in the linked photo for Calletta Craft at a distance of 110 yards in twilight.

2:  RJ married Calletta in 1931 and the marriage lasted only a few years.  Calletta was apparently several years in Johnson's past when he met Robert Lockwood and Lockwood's mother.  So it's really doubtful that Lockwood and Calletta Craft ever sat at the same table together with Robert Johnson.

3:  It's truly amazing how many people who were convicted and placed on death row on the testimony of "recognized experts" have later been exonerated by DNA or other evidence.

1+2+3=Wishing don't make it so.   

Offline dj

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2015, 01:39:38 PM »
I guess I should add a fourth point to my previous post, one that most people don't think of but that's pretty obvious once you do think of it:  There's a selection bias in the work of "recognized experts".  They're essentially independent contractors, trying to make a living, and getting hired for repeat jobs means pleasing the person who's hired them.  So if the hirer wants to prove he's got a photo of Robert Johnson, the expert, if she ever wants to work for that hirer or his friends, family, and acquaintances again, will find that it is indeed a photo of Mr. Johnson.  Think of how it works in criminal cases: there are experts who always work for the prosecution and testify the way the prosecution wants, and there are others who always work for the defense.  I'm not saying that Ms. Gibson consciously had an outcome in mind when she started to ID the photo, but you need to be aware that the pressure is there, whether overtly or subconsciously.     

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2015, 02:29:17 PM »
This reminds me of the old saying variously applied that ends, "in the worst way."

Here's my take on it:

When someone starts out wanting to believe that it is a photo of RJ in the worst way, they usually end up believing that it is a photo of RJ in the worst way.

Offline uncle bud

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New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2015, 03:15:51 PM »
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 03:19:38 PM by uncle bud »

Offline jrn

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2015, 03:39:06 PM »
Wow! Very interesting.

Looks like she's a bullshit artist to me. It's scary to think that she's top dog in her field.
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2015, 03:44:30 PM »
I'm considered by some to be a world class nose blower, but then you have to consider the field.   :P

Offline frankie

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2015, 04:30:37 PM »
This is getting ridiculous.

We didn't pass "ridiculous" a while ago? Dear me, I've not been paying much attention on this ride.

Offline harriet

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2015, 04:34:09 PM »
She's a clever girl. Gotten a lot of publicity and collected some tidy fees lending her authority as a forensic sketch artist to document these photos for sales purpose. She's got one out on Jesse James killer Robert Ford as well. Nice cottage industry for her.

Perhaps IMHO the scholar community should make a legal inquiry as to whether there is a case against her for her participation in creating a hoax for sales purposes or as a nuisance to the community of legitimate scholarly researchers.

This is the third one from her in 2 years, and on this one there's no mouth or chin for comparison.



Offline Stuart

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2015, 05:26:06 PM »
The problem, Harriet, is where do you take her to task? There was a thread at the now defunct IGS site that did this (you might have even participated in it), but I don't think the posts went beyond the IGS site. As I said in another thread here, "The problem is the objective verification of the accuracy of her conclusions with respect to the identity of the people in the photos."  Writing a one paragraph contra piece (that's all it would take) in Vanity Fair or anywhere else for that matter (if it were to get published), would IMHO fall on deaf ears. People who want to believe that her opinion is fact aren't going to have their minds changed. To paraphrase a quote attributed to John Fahey, "Most of the world runs on bullshit--so go straight for the bullshit and milk it for all that it's worth." --Which some people have obviously done.

Offline harriet

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2015, 05:54:11 PM »
Those are good points Stuart. 

I think it's an appropriate activity for the people who are involved in legitimate validation of valuable photos of historical figures with some authority in that area  such as the Jesse James family and in Robert Johnson's case the blues historians to present their side not just on disputing the setting and facial details, such as there are in this, of the the fakes but to expose the difference between what she is doing and credible documentation. Whether or not people listen, the info is there if they should ever want.

Hopefully just the association of hoax with her name on an internet search as the story circulates will help discourage her - though I doubt anyone would fall for yet another one of her photoshop miracles -and make it less attractive to use her services in this area for sales purposes.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 06:05:00 PM by harriet »

Offline CF

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2015, 10:11:41 AM »
This obviously 'fake' photo (in that it is not RJ) was mentioned & scoffed at in this piece from May which focuses on the 'Vanity Fair' phoney RJ/Johnny Shines photo

http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/49-experts-agree-that-third-photo-of-robert-johnson-is-not-authentic/
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline eric

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2015, 11:28:55 AM »
In an incredible coincidence, I also recently uncovered another photo of Robert
--
Eric

Offline dj

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2015, 01:41:37 PM »
Quote
In an incredible coincidence, I also recently uncovered another photo of Robert

Who, the guy on the left with the cigar?  Looks more like Roosevelt Sykes to me.   :P


Offline Gilgamesh

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2015, 07:40:31 PM »
Any undated B&W photo of a black man is potentially Robert Johnson. Don't you guys know anything?  ;D

Ms. Gibson has zero credibility. Whatever credentials she has should be revoked. Shuddering to think this horrible person may have had her "expertise" decide actual court cases.

Offline Rivers

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2015, 07:28:03 PM »
Just catching up on the news, I clicked on the original link and it 404's, IT jive talk for it's been taken down. Wasn't up there for very long was it? Could be something fishy is going on, though mostly I believe everything I read on the internet.

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2015, 10:46:56 PM »
Is this the one?

http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music/article/New-photo-of-bluesman-Robert-Johnson-unearthed-6703035.php

I did a search for "Robert Johnson" and this was at the top of the list.


Offline alyoung

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2015, 01:24:11 AM »
Y'kno I can't help thinking this is a hoax, designed to denigrate Lois Gibson. The picture is so obviously not from the 1930s (the chrome furniture, the eyeglass fashions and the Coke bottle shape are among items that have been pointed out as being 1950s) and the quotes purportedly from Ms Gibson that I read in one story just didn't ring true. I could be wrong (it does happen occasionally), but something seems "off" in this discovery. (PS: As one of the 49 signatories to the thesis shooting down the previous Lois Gibson "identification", let me make it clear that I have no problem with Ms Gibson being denigrated; it's just that this one seems a little odd.)

Offline harriet

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2015, 04:50:55 AM »
Frank Matheis and Dr. Bruce Conforth just debunked her on this particular photo - they are getting a good reception to the publication and its being picked up :
http://www.thecountryblues.com/op-ed/another-robert-johnson-photo-debunked/

Offline One-Eyed Ross

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2015, 07:43:44 AM »
Now, if we could just get a picture of Robert Johnson and Elvis with JFK, we'd have some $$
SSG, USA, Ret

She looked like a horse eating an apple through a wire fence.

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2015, 09:39:33 AM »
Thanks for the link, Harriet. Elijah's got it right.

(Edited to add: Here's a different link): https://www.academia.edu/19869937/Another_Robert_Johnson_Photo_Debunked

The photo ID reminds me of a quote, perhaps from Samuel Johnson (maybe apocryphal or miss-attributed), I paraphrase, "It's not what people don't know that gets them in the most trouble, but what they know with absolute certainty that just isn't true."

And another (the first half from Richard Feynman, the second from a bumper sticker): "The easiest person to fool is yourself, so don't believe everything you think."

Edited to add: I think "denigrate" may be too strong a term, Al. "Discredit" the accuracy of her photo identifications is more appropriate, IMHO, as is calling into question her qualifications to do so. There were a few attacks on Ms. Gibson that veered into the personal on the IGS thread, something that I think is uncalled for as she may be honest and sincere with respect to her beliefs about person she identified as RJ in the photos, but just simply incorrect in her identification.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 12:51:10 PM by Stuart »

Offline Gilgamesh

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2015, 08:09:51 PM »
Thanks for the link, Harriet. Elijah's got it right.

(Edited to add: Here's a different link): https://www.academia.edu/19869937/Another_Robert_Johnson_Photo_Debunked

The photo ID reminds me of a quote, perhaps from Samuel Johnson (maybe apocryphal or miss-attributed), I paraphrase, "It's not what people don't know that gets them in the most trouble, but what they know with absolute certainty that just isn't true."

And another (the first half from Richard Feynman, the second from a bumper sticker): "The easiest person to fool is yourself, so don't believe everything you think."

Edited to add: I think "denigrate" may be too strong a term, Al. "Discredit" the accuracy of her photo identifications is more appropriate, IMHO, as is calling into question her qualifications to do so. There were a few attacks on Ms. Gibson that veered into the personal on the IGS thread, something that I think is uncalled for as she may be honest and sincere with respect to her beliefs about person she identified as RJ in the photos, but just simply incorrect in her identification.

"Hopefully the definitive biography of Johnson that Gayle Dean Wardlow and Bruce are completing will put an end to much speculation and conjecture."

First I've heard of this. Hopefully not another "Biography of a Phantom"? It's almost complete, the article says.

Offline alyoung

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2015, 08:41:45 PM »

Thanks for the link, Harriet. Elijah's got it right.


Edited to add: I think "denigrate" may be too strong a term, Al. "Discredit" the accuracy of her photo identifications is more appropriate, IMHO, as is calling into question her qualifications to do so.

Quite right. "Discredit" is the word I was looking for (although I don't think "denigrate" is too strong ... it's just not quite the right word).

Offline bluesprof

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2016, 08:27:41 AM »
Aside from the fact that there are SO many things wrong with this latest "authentication", including the fact that a photo of the real Calletta Craft looks absolutely nothing like the Calletta Craft in this photo, what makes this laughable is that this is the second Robert Johnson photo Gibson "authenticated" and neither man looks like the other (let alone that neither look like Johnson).  You would think that both photos she "authenticated" as Johnson would at least resemble each other but they don't!
And, of course, there's the evidence presented by Eric F. James (relative of Jesse James and founder of the James Family Preservation Society) that Gibson outright faked a photo of Jesse James.  She was engaged in an apparent fraud that she is still posting as "truth" on her "Lois Gibson's School of Forensic Art" facebook site.  She has NO credibility at all.

Offline wreid75

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2016, 06:58:35 AM »
Just imagine if 1/30th of the time spent by researchers on Robert Johnson was spent on any of the other wonderful musicians, some of whom were his equal or better?

Offline Pontius2000

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2016, 10:15:27 AM »
I would like to know how she identified the other people in the photo? I had recently looked for pictures of a young Lockwood and all I could ever find were photos of his aged 50+. Do pictures of Lockwood from the 30s era even exist?

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2016, 12:13:51 PM »
There's fantastic silent colour film footage of him and Sonny Boy Williamson II playing on a store front porch for the King Biscuit Hour roadshow.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 12:16:34 PM by Prof Scratchy »

Offline Pontius2000

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2016, 03:48:51 PM »
There's fantastic silent colour film footage of him and Sonny Boy Williamson II playing on a store front porch for the King Biscuit Hour roadshow.

Yep, there's no doubt whatsoever that it's Lockwood in the video. Even at that age, he has the same facial features and expressions. Doesn't really look like him in the photo, but it's a still photo and he would've been about a decade younger.

If the other known photo of Carletta is legit, then that is absolutely not her in this photo.

Doesn't look like RJ to me, wish I could see his whole face. RJ had one eye that was slightly smaller than the other, I have that same thing with my eyes. This guys eyes look identical.

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2016, 09:47:05 AM »
Bruce uploaded his Living Blues piece, "The Business of Robert Johnson Fakery." Here's the link:

https://www.academia.edu/21463076/The_Business_of_Robert_Johnson_Fakery

Offline One-Eyed Ross

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2016, 11:35:58 AM »
So, I went to download the paper.  Man, that was an experience.  Had to list my occupation (retired old fart)...and wanted to know who I was affiliated with.....
SSG, USA, Ret

She looked like a horse eating an apple through a wire fence.

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2016, 12:35:24 PM »
Hi Ross:

When I first signed up for Academia.edu a while back, it was pretty straight forward. I was directed there when I was searching for an article on some non-music related subject, probably history. There were a few questions, but nothing that I considered invasive. Plus, there were a boxes to check for areas of interest, that's how / why I get the notification regarding recent uploads.

I agree that some of the info that these sites want is way beyond reasonable. I can understand them wanting some info so they can notify us when something of possible interest gets posted, but man, after a certain point, give me a break!

Anyway, the scan of the article (as uploaded to Academia.edu) is attached so others don't have to go through the ordeal you did.


Offline harriet

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2016, 02:50:51 PM »
From the company's coca cola site in the UK - coke bottles over 6.5 oz were introduced in 1955:
http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/history/heritage/contour-bottle-history/

Bruce also uploaded a computer analysis using the exact photos used for the alleged "authenication" to his facebook page at least - it may also be on youtube. 

Thank you Stuart for the article.

Harriet
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 05:10:29 PM by harriet »

Offline bluesprof

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2016, 06:48:14 AM »
Yes, the video is on youtube.  There are two analyses:  one using the Hooks brothers photo and one using the exact same version of the dime store photo that Gibson used in her "authentication."

Offline wreid75

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2016, 10:49:48 AM »
Now I think we have missed this on.  This I believe is Willie Brown.  You see we know what an old man Willie looks like due to the movie crossroads.  Now look at the young man in the picture and squint really hard, to the point it is kind of blurry.  Now imagine that image as an old man.  Ta da!  Willie Brown folks!

Offline Shovel

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2016, 05:50:23 AM »
FWIW, for years there has been a rumor of a dealer out at Canton TX Flea Market who is reported to have procured a photograph with Robert Johnson and Ike Zimmerman together in it.  I saw a copy of the photo last month.  In it, I can confirm that there are indeed two young african american men.   No doubt about it.  One (reportedly, Robert Johnson) is kind of crouched lower in front of the photo, with the other young man (reportedly Zimmerman) kind of behind him and to the left.  Leaving blues musicians out of it, the most interesting thing about this photo is the fact that Ike (I'll call him that) is holding a gun held up to Robert's (supposed) head.  Now, I've got to tell you, this photo was from, probably, a 1930s photo booth. And the two are clearly acquaintances if not friends, and are clowning around.  No smiles or anything, but it seems safe that no one's makers are about to be met as a result of this gunplay.  Horseplay even. 
As for the crouching, apparently unarmed gentleman being Robert Johnson, well I'm not an expert like the folks who have been in the business of confirming these recently.  Which is to say, I don't have any experience in that field nor any skin in that game.  I'll say the guy resembled a young, vaguely chubby acquaintance of someone who definitely could have known Robert Johnson, or at least known someone who owned one of his records, no doubt about it. 

Offline bluesprof

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Re: New Robert Johnson photo?
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2016, 02:50:27 PM »
I've heard about that photo too and would love to see a copy of it because I could identify Ike in an instant.  Identifying Johnson wouldn't be hard either because he would have resembled a slightly younger version of the Hook's brothers photo.  But if it was Ike then the photo would have had to have been from 1931 at the latest, and Johnson would have only been 20.

 


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