Author Topic: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?  (Read 170819 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #90 on: March 26, 2005, 02:40:13 PM »
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Even if the FS photo was retouched way back when, I have difficulty believing that even the most skillful artist could make FS look so much like AA, unless there was a strong underlying resemblance to begin with. I'm wondering, do all of us admit that there IS a resemblance? Or are some of you saying, there's no resemblance, even though the photo was retouched to make FS look like AA?

It seems to me that the retouching was either successful or it wasn't, but you can't have it both ways!

For that matter, how do we know that some of the AA photos were not retouched to make AA look more like AN? If we're going to start nitpicking to this extent, worrying about not just retouching but also about copies of copies of copies, their precise age and so on, we might as well go all the way...

  


Asking to have copies of the two original used on the overlay process isn't "nitpicking" since some of you place so much weight on this and consider it "evidence" of proof.

It doesn't matter to me the outcome.  I'd just like to make sure it is the right one.

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Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #91 on: March 26, 2005, 03:42:27 PM »
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Even if the FS photo was retouched way back when, I have difficulty believing that even the most skillful artist could make FS look so much like AA, unless there was a strong underlying resemblance to begin with. I'm wondering, do all of us admit that there IS a resemblance? Or are some of you saying, there's no resemblance, even though the photo was retouched to make FS look like AA?


Of course there's a resemblance -- if there wasn't, people wouldn't see one.  :)    For myself, I see some photos of Fraulein Unbekannt that look like Franziska, and then other times, there are photos that look like GDss Anastasia, and still other times, she looks like neither.

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For that matter, how do we know that some of the AA photos were not retouched to make AA look more like AN? If we're going to start nitpicking to this extent, worrying about not just retouching but also about copies of copies of copies, their precise age and so on, we might as well go all the way...


I agree -- and don't see it as "nitpicking."  It's a matter of being precise, and it applies to every piece of evidence in the case, no matter what the "side."  I don't think anyone here has ever suggested otherwise.
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Offline Sian_Turner

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #92 on: March 26, 2005, 04:49:42 PM »
My intense difficulty with photographic comparisons of any kind (and I realise that this is irritating for some members of the discussion board community) is that you cannot really compare two photographs of people unless they are taken from exactly the same viewpoint, in exactly the same lighting conditions, and in similar if not the same context(s).  I'm really not trying to be deliberately difficult or awkward for the sake of my own particular beliefs, but in overlaying one photo onto another I really believe that the pictures need to display the two subjects in exactly the same position and posture.  This is not what I have seen earlier in this disccusion post and, so, causes me to have serious misgivings about our attempting to provide a yes or no answer from this.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #93 on: March 26, 2005, 05:02:37 PM »
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My intense difficulty with photographic comparisons of any kind (and I realise that this is irritating for some members of the discussion board community) is that you cannot really compare two photographs of people unless they are taken from exactly the same viewpoint, in exactly the same lighting conditions, and in similar if not the same context(s).  I'm really not trying to be deliberately difficult or awkward for the sake of my own particular beliefs, but in overlaying one photo onto another I really believe that the pictures need to display the two subjects in exactly the same position and posture.  This is not what I have seen earlier in this disccusion post and, so, causes me to have serious misgivings about our attempting to provide a yes or no answer from this.


I don't think you're being awkward or difficult at all, Sian. In fact, if this photograph comparison was supposed to be the "definitive" and only evidence that AA was FS, then I would not be satisfied with it. After all, I used to believe AA was AN based on the photographic evidence, and look how wrong I turned out to be...like a lot of other people! Remember all those comparisons of AN's ear with AA's ear, which showed them to be identical, and the determination of the German police that AA had more than 15 points of facial similarity in common with AN... all of those identifications were subjective, based on photographic "evidence," and proved to be wrong in the end.

No, I think most of us who believe that AA was really FS rely on the DNA evidence first and foremost - the more recent, computer-generated photographic comparisons merely buttress, as it were, the underlying foundation of scientific proof.
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #94 on: March 27, 2005, 11:08:20 AM »
DNA has not been a part of this thread.  The photographs which were on the tv program are.

So far, no one has produced the photograph of AA which matches the one of FS.  Even FS's photograph has been said wasn't from the original.

Sian and others are starting to see what I'm trying to do.  Thanks.

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Offline jaa

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #95 on: March 27, 2005, 11:32:44 AM »
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I think I have heard "china white" called "zinc white" in connection with this retouched photo...

There are three white pigments used by artists: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and lead. Zinc white is only semi-opaque. Lead or "Flake White" is the most opaque but will tarnish and darken if exposed to air; it is used mostly in oils.

The term China White could have been a common name for any white, just as "India Ink" is a common name for lampblack inks.

I don't know what types of paint were used for photo-retouching in the 20's and 30's. Kodak would be a good source, and they still manufacture liquid photo-retouch colors. There's an "Official Marshall's Handcoloring Guide," by Grace and George Schaub, for use with Marshall's Photo Oils.

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Over what sort of span does generational loss become significant for this sort of photo-matching?

For facial recognition systems, the better the image, the greater the chance of an accurate identification. Since the image of FS is grainy and under-exposed to begin with, probably only the first- or second-generation copies of the photo would contain enough information.

I also don't think photo-matching is a good description. It is really a match dissolve (also known as a "form cut" or "graphic match"), a transition used in film and television. The compositional elements remain the same but the scene changes. This is a very old transition and goes back to silent films.

If I recall correctly, a match dissolve was used at the end of "Titanic," when Kate Winslett's young Rose became Gloria Stuart's elderly Rose. This is one common use for a match dissolve; it helps the audience to recognize the character even though she was played by two different actors.

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And do you know how shadows are removed?  I'm not certain that I have phrased that question correctly, but  I am thinking of photos, where the eyes are shadowed  -- either by the sockets or by the nose --  how would the expert "see" through the shadowing to the actual dimensions of the eyes?

Prior to computer-based imaging, this would have been done while printing a photograph. The image, or parts of the image, would have been under-exposed to make it lighter. This is called "dodging." A fairly good explanation of dodging:
http://www3.telus.net/drkrm/burndodge.htm

With computers, a photo or a good copy would need to be scanned in at a high resolution. The image would then be enhanced by software; Photoshop is capable this and has a number of plug-ins for advanced work. There are also specialized programs for this purpose.

In addition, there are computer-based facial recognition systems. This article is slightly dated, but it is a good intro to the technology:
http://people.howstuffworks.com/facial-recognition.htm

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An extensively retouched photo has the potential to change those dimensions;
What makes you think the artist didn't take that into consideration? ;)

If the retouching was done for a book entitled "The False Anastasia," that raises a lot of questions about its accuracy.

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this isn't directed at you, JAA as I hardly know your views on the subject at all

For what it's worth, I think AA was probably FS. But I know a lot less about the subject than Penny, and she doesn't seem to think so, at least at this point in her research. I'm looking forward to her book.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by jaa »

Offline Penny_Wilson

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #96 on: March 27, 2005, 12:01:22 PM »
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I also don't think photo-matching is a good description. It is really a match dissolve (also known as a "form cut" or "graphic match"), a transition used in film and television. The compositional elements remain the same but the scene changes. This is a very old transition and goes back to silent films.


Thank you for the correct terminology!  As someone who is immensely intimidated by her photo-taking cell-phone, I'm happy to have you give me all this photography information -- I'll file it all away for future reference... :)

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If the retouching was done for a book entitled "The False Anastasia," that raises a lot of questions about its accuracy.


Every story I've ever heard about this photo has Pierre Gilliard doing the retouching -- though I don't know if this means that he literally did it himself, or if he caused someone to do the work for him.  In any event, the result is very "gloopy" looking and what I would call unprofessional -- though time and the physical medium of "china white" couldn't have been kind to the process.

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For what it's worth, I think AA was probably FS. But I know a lot less about the subject than Penny, and she doesn't seem to think so, at least at this point in her research. I'm looking forward to her book.


In the final analysis, she might well turn out to have been FS -- but thus far in our research, we have ample evidence in our possession to continue questioning her identity, so we'll continue to do so -- and hopefully reach something like a definitive conclusion at the end.  We -- Greg and I -- are just people who like all our "i"'s dotted and "t"'s crossed...  Though again, at this point, it's my personal opinion that she was not FS.  (Sorry -- I just feel the need to keep re-stating my opinion here, lest it get lost in the huha).  ;D

And thanks again, jaa!
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #97 on: March 27, 2005, 01:12:11 PM »
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Every story I've ever heard about this photo has Pierre Gilliard doing the retouching -- though I don't know if this means that he literally did it himself, or if he caused someone to do the work for him.  In any event, the result is very "gloopy" looking and what I would call unprofessional -- though time and the physical medium of "china white" couldn't have been kind to the process.


The "gloopy looking" retouched photo of FS is one that Helen Azar reproduced here earlier, and it is very obviously and clumsily retouched, in so far as a rather cartoon-like FS is shown wearing earrings, whereas in the original photo no earrings are to be seen. The earrings were an obvious later addition by the person doing the retouching, based on a mistaken interpretation of a white spot under one of FS's ears in the original photo (Malenkaya noted this on another thread).

However, from comparing all these different versions of the one photograph we have of FS, it is quite clear that the version used for the computer-generated photographic comparison was not the clumsily retouched, "gloopy looking" one, but one very close to the original, if not the original itself then perhaps even a first-generation copy of the original.
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Offline jaa

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #98 on: March 27, 2005, 03:18:04 PM »
You're thinking of the image in the Berliner Nachtausgabe. The image being discussed is the one in "La fausse Anastasie," Pierre Gilliard and Konstantin Savitch. AGRBear has posted this image a few times in this thread.

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the computer-generated photographic comparison

This is a match dissolve. Computers automate the process of making dissolves, but it's still a basic fade-out, fade-in.

From "The Complete Film Dictionary," Ira Konigsberg:

"dissolve (DISS), cross dissolve, lap dissolve, mix A transition between two scenes whereby the first gradually fades out as the second gradually fades in with some overlap between the two. This transition is normally made in an optical printer (in silent films it had to be obtained in the camera and so was not often used)..."

"match cut, match-image cut A cut from one shot to another in which the two shots are matched by action or subject by... (3) a similarity in the two subject's shape and form -- for example, close-ups of two characters engaged in conversation, a portrait becoming a live face..."

"match dissolve A dissolve from one scene to another in which the two images are matched or related by similarities of form or action. Sometimes a series of shots or images of the same subject can dissolve one into the other to suggest the passage of time or the process of aging. Horror films frequently show their transformation of man to werewolf or Jekyll to Hyde through a series of match dissolves."

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Every story I've ever heard about this photo has Pierre Gilliard doing the retouching -- though I don't know if this means that he literally did it himself, or if he caused someone to do the work for him.

I wondered about Peter Kurth's description of a "three times retouched" image, and if that meant Gilliard rejected the artist's first two attempts.

It is possible, although improbable, that Gilliard was the artist. 19th and early 20th century education included sketching and watercolors. If I recall correctly, there are whole passages in Jane Eyre regarding this as a pastime of the educated classes.

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In any event, the result is very "gloopy" looking and what I would call unprofessional -- though time and the physical medium of "china white" couldn't have been kind to the process.

Not necessarily unprofessional, since the finished work was meant for publication and the artist would likely have been familiar with offset printing processes as well as photography.

Another term (I'm glad you don't mind about these technical terms) for "gloopy" would be "impasto," which refers to the thickness of paint and the visibility of brush strokes. Van Goghs are heavily impastoed.

A retouched photo with heavy impasto would indicate that much of the underlying information was obscured.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #99 on: March 27, 2005, 04:11:05 PM »
This is just getting way too confusing, folks  ???. IMHO, the Berliner Nachtausgabe photo is the only one that looks obviously and clumsily retouched ("gloopy looking," "heavily impastoed," or whatever). So which photo is from Gilliard's book? And which one is the original, or has no one located it yet?

This would be a lot easier if AGRBear wasn't referencing on another thread the Berliner Nachtausgabe photo as THE photo of FS that proves she had pierced ears... as if it were the original photo, which it clearly isn't!

Could someone please simply (re)post the Before and After pictures relevant to Gilliard side by side?

But dare I ask: why do we seem to be assuming that it was Gilliard's photo that was used for the computer-generated photo comparison? Isn't it safer to assume that there is an original (and/or copies of the original) in existence somewhere?  
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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #100 on: March 27, 2005, 05:22:29 PM »
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If the retouching was done for a book entitled "The False Anastasia," that raises a lot of questions about its accuracy.


This probably isn't your intention, but this is to go back into the idea that people were falsifying information, when, in reality, people like Pierre Gilliard were proven to be right all along. She was a "False Anastasie." He was simply trying to make her features clearer for publication.
Again, I'm pretty sure the original, or a copy of the original, was used for this test. When I get back to L.A. I'll check my notes to make sure my memory is accurate.

Meanwhile, does anyone else here have anymore information on this test?  


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For what it's worth, I think AA was probably FS. But I know a lot less about the subject than Penny, and she doesn't seem to think so, at least at this point in her research. I'm looking forward to her book.


We are all curious about the book but history being a subjective displine, and if she arrives at the conclusion that AA was not FS,  I doubt it will be the last word on the subject  ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by jeremygaleaz »

Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #101 on: March 27, 2005, 07:04:29 PM »


This is one of Helen's photographs.  She wrote under it
"Un-retouched version of the photo^^"

Just let me know which one this is and I'll mark the one on this thread as well as the other one.

Will deal with the earring after I know which one this is.

Great information Jaa.  Thanks.

AGRBear

PS Note of 28 March 2005:  Evidently this is a "touched" photo in which the artist is showing earrings which may or may not be earrings because the artist may have thought the shadows were earrings and not shadows.  All the  shadows make it difficult to tell from this copy.  Again, we'd have to go to the original and blow it up to see if there are earrings.

PSS  Shadows around the jaw line does not allow us to see where the shadows start and end.  The jaw line is not defined in the copy seen below in Jaa's  as it is in the artists view of the jaw line in the one I have posted above.

PSSS  "un-retouched version of the photo^^" to which Helen was referring was probably the top one in her post but the words fell under the touched version and I probably misread her post.  Sorry Helen for my confusion.  This photo to which Helen was probably referring  is the one just below this post in Jaa's post.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
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Offline jaa

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #102 on: March 28, 2005, 10:37:21 AM »

This is the unretouched image.

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the Berliner Nachtausgabe photo is the only one that looks obviously and clumsily retouched ("gloopy looking," "heavily impastoed,"

Elisabeth, you won't be able to see the impasto, or surface texture, in images from books. It's like the difference between paintings and reproductions; you have to see the actual object to see the surface texture. Penny has seen the retouched Gilliard photo, not a reproduction.

When retouched photos are re-photographed for publication, they're lit from opposite sides. Shadows cast by raised surfaces are washed out. The new image is then transferred onto aluminum plates in a pattern of dots (benday process) for printing. By the time the reader sees the illustration in a book, much of the information is lost, including brush strokes and cross-hatching, and the image looks more polished.

That's also why I don't think an impastoed surface means the artist was unprofessional. It could just mean that the artist knew about copy stands and benday screens.

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why do we seem to be assuming that it was Gilliard's photo that was used for the computer-generated photo comparison?

I don't think we were. I can't tell if the image used for the dissolve was the non-retouched image or the image for Gilliard's book. In part because it's blurry and in part because the dissolve stops before the fade-in is completed. Jeremy said it didn't matter if it was the retouched version, I thought it did.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by jaa »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #103 on: March 28, 2005, 01:09:15 PM »
Jaa, thanks for posting the original picture. I had no idea the image was so blurry.

Also many, many thanks for taking the time to explain the technical side of retouching photos - the process is a lot clearer to me now. No wonder they call it an art!
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Re: AA/FS Photo Comparison - Similarities: What is Wrong With AA Being FS?
« Reply #104 on: March 28, 2005, 02:21:08 PM »
Since the photo is burry, I suspect it was taken from a smaller photograph.  Usually  photographs taken at the turn of the century were about postcard size.  However, they were usually quite clear and taken indoors.  That doesn't mean all photographs were taken inside.  Photographs taken outdoors were usually more about a home or a church in which the person or persons were near.

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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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