Nov. 23, 1963, 6 pm: ‘This is not my picture’

Oswald was interrogated at 6 pm Saturday evening in the office of Captain Will Fritz of the Dallas Police Department: Oswald was shown a photograph seized earlier that day from his house.

He said the photographs had been faked, a claim repeated by some conspiracy theorists. Two subsequent examinations concluded the photographs had not been faked.

Oswald said:

“In time I will be able to show you that this is not my picture, but I don’t want to answer any more questions …. I will not discuss this photograph [which was used on the cover of the Feb. 21, 1964 Life magazine] without advice of an attorney …. There was another rifle in the building. I have seen it. Warren Caster had two rifles, a 30.06 Mauser and a .22 for his son …. That picture is not mine, but the face is mine.”

“The picture has been made by superimposing my face. The other part of the picture is not me at all, and I have never seen this picture before. I understand photography real well, and that, in time, I will be able to show you that is not my picture and that it has been made by someone else …. It was entirely possible that the Police Dept. has superimposed this part of the photograph over the body of someone else ….”

Oswald’s denial was picked up by skeptics of the Warren Commission report as evidence Oswald had been framed.

Two experts enlisted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations later examined the photographs and concluded they had not been faked.

Hani Farid of the Computer Science at Dartmouth analyzed the photos in 2009 and reached the same conclusion: they were not faked.

The origins of the photographs

Two versions of the photograph had been found in a box of personal effects in Oswald’s home in Dallas on November 23, 1963. According to the Dallas Police Department, the box contained two negatives. One of the negatives disappeared was never accounted for.

The photo became known  as “the backyard photograph” because it was taken in the backyard of Oswald’s house in New Orleans in March or April 1963. Marina Oswald testified to the Warren Commission that she had taken the photographs.

Another copy of the photograph surfaced in the possession of Oswald’s friend George de Mohrenschildt.



45 thoughts on “Nov. 23, 1963, 6 pm: ‘This is not my picture’”

  1. Why isn’t anyone mentioning his impossible stance,stubby fingers,half a scope,wrong chin,wrong length gun,wrong shadows,strange arm lengths,oddly positioned elbows,wristwatch,thick neck and exact same background in three pics all taken by a hand held camera held at waist level by someone less qualified than an amateur(allegedly….)?
    Not to mention that these photos reproduce like tribbles and turn up in the strangest of places,not always showing patsy as the subject.

  2. Oswald denied those photos only after his arrest. Marina to this day maintains that she took those photos. Experts have examined them and declared them authentic, not faked. Conspiracy theory followers work very hard to prove those photos faked and cling to Oswald’s final words while being interrogated.
    On the internet, looking through those backyard photos of Oswald, I have noted where hackers have come in and made changes….all done for the sake of humor but showing what is possible. Conspiracy buffs want you to believe that the lone gunman establishment has covered up, lied and altered those pictures. Isn’t it possible that the ones who started spreading the idea of a conspiracy are the ones who did this very thing to bring in all of the confusion?

  3. It is rather weird that his chin looks so unlike any that I have seen in other pictures. The way his body is leaning back to the right is peculiarly strange.
    Is the publication in his hand in true proportion to the picture?
    Is this rifle exactly the same as the rifle claimed to have been used at the TSBD ?

  4. Mr. Morley, you really need to correct the post (the photo was taken in Dallas, not New Orleans), and perhaps tell readers about the other poses that turned up in the hands of other people (as well as the reenactment photos staged by the DPD and FBI). These are equally important “JFK Facts.”

  5. Mr. (Ms.?) Photon, you miss the point. Trouble is not the issue here. Spooks can have a sense of humor too. Oswald had no idea what was in store for him. The image of the wife-beating ogre and social malcontent the media and the WC have fed us for 50 years just may not be all that accurate. Obviously the photos were not for public consumption; Oswald displaying both the Worker and the Militant? Brandishing a rifle, pistol on his hip, but with a phoney face pasted in? How can you take such pictures seriously? These photos had a purpose, and Oswald knew what that purpose was. Someone else probably knew that purpose as well.

    1. This is an excellent point. Assuming the photos are genuine, what do they prove? Nothing, except that at one point Oswald stood in his backyard holding a rifle and two papers published by different Communist factions that hated each other, and with a pistol in a holster on his hip. You think some other Texans might have posed for photos holding firearms that year? He could easily have said at the trial that never happened that the photos were meant as a joke, and that he lied to the police about them because he thought they made him look bad, and he was afraid. Remember that bit of Cyrillic writing, supposedly by Marina, on the back of the copy given to George de Moranschildt? “Killer of fascists, ha-ha-ha!” Apparently, no one was taking this all that seriously at the time the pictures were taken.

  6. This photo stuff is a red herring. It’s probably the real Oswald posing with the rifle and handgun as his mother and Marina burned another photo which they felt would have further incriminated him. I think Oswald was in on something, but I don’t think he pulled the trigger. The chain of “evidence” was so badly botched by the Dallas police as to be pathetic. If he did shoot, he couldn’t have made the head shot, which struck Kennedy from the front. I think there were three sniper positions: 1) at the roof of the Dal-Tex bldg.; 2) sixth floor of the TSBD; and 3) at the angle of the fence on the “knoll” guarded by a fake SS agent who flashed his badge when one of the Dallas police confronted or bumped into him.
    What caused confusion in this photo evidence is that several of the Dallas police took copies to sell and these came up years later. One had more of the original foreground in the backyard at the bottom of the picture.

    The more interesting questions surround the rifle itself, particularly the ammunition. The bullet found in General Walker’s home had more tin in it (composition linked to ammunition made in the USA for Italy in 1944 after Il Duce fell and they became our ally). The bullets from the limousine and fragments had a different composition, meaning they came from a limited number of bullets manufactured by Western Ammunition or Munitions, part of a PERMINDEX batch made well after the war and linked to CIA right wing, anti-communist ammunition to help Italians. When PERMINDEX got booted out of Switzerland following a failed coup attempt by right wingers in France whom the French accused of being linked to CIA, the Italians folded their right wing ties as well. The ammo went on the public market. PERMINDEX was Clay Shaw’s concern out of New Orleans. If anyone wants to read well sourced info about Oswald’s “evidence” I highly recommend Donald Thomas’ “Hear No Evil”. It shreds the Warren Commission’s arguments into a million pieces.

  7. Oswald worked at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall from October ’62 to April ’63. I’ve read these photos were taken on March 31 of ’63. Could Oswald, who may have had access to the necessary photo equipment, have fabricated his own fake photos? The newspapers may be a sight gag, or a clue, for someone (who?). Or he may have been prompted to fake them for some purpose. Living in Dallas, I visited the scene of these photos some time ago. Gave me goosebumps.

  8. In the History Channel JFK special documentary broadcast this past weekend, ‘Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours To Live’, Marina is depicted as folding the backyard photos of Lee Oswald & his arsenal and hiding them in her shoe before going to DPD headquarters to speak to Lee via jail phone. She wanted to ask him what to do with the photos but refrained when Lee indicated it wasn’t safe to talk to him there at jail.

    If Lee Oswald was telling the truth about ‘someone superimposed my head on another man’s body’ then Marina’s photos should differ from what the DPD had shown Lee Oswald in jail; perhaps showing him holding a different weapon than the carcano.

    This bring up the question of what Marina did with the photos & can she produce them now. If Marina’s photo show Lee Oswald posing with a different rifle (let’s say a shotgun, for example) game is over. If Marina’s photos match the DPD photos, Lee Oswald was lying.

  9. I’m an agnostic w/r/t those photos. I’ll just say that they look weird. In fact, they remind me of those gag photos you used to get at amusement parks, where you’d stand behind this large piece of wood with a hole at head level so you could stick your face there and it would appear as if you were a flexing muscleman in a 19th century bathing suit.

  10. The background shot was taken at the Neely St. house. The body figure is most likely Roscoe White – examine photos of him and you’ll see the same large bump on his wrist, and he frequently stood in the same way (his weight shifted onto one hip). Since White worked in the DPD, he was in a perfect position to introduce them into “evidence” – they were actually shown to Oswald by police before they were officially “found” in the Paine house. Not surprising that one of the photos turned up in the possession of White’s widow.

    Jack White explained how easy it was to create these composite photos and then photograph them with the Imperial Reflex camera. Of course the markings will be the same.

    1. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

      Substituting Oswalds face on another persons face is easily doable. I’ve done it myself with the results being basically identical to the rifle image. Some of the degree of similarities were a bit surprising. But…even if the face was altered, a further alteration would be required. That would be the right hand ring finger. LHO wore his wedding on his right hand and is shown in the rifle image. If this were someone elses body, they would have to have been wearing the same ring on the same finger, or this too would need alteration. There appears to be a line across the arm near that finger. Lines across an image often are indications of alteration, but as I don’t have the actual photo to examine this can’t be determined conclusively. Further, the 1st index finger nearest the thumb (right hand) shows the tip of the finger is bent as sometimes seen with fingers that have been broken. Possibly the finger could be arthritc. In any case, Oswalds palm/fingerprint cards from Dallas PD do not show a bend in this finger.

      1. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

        I just now looked at the rifle image with this article. Looking at the right hand, the fingers are stubby (short) and the palm wide. Oswalds finger/palmprint cards show his palms are narrow and fingers longer…will have to look again.

  11. Provenance. Five decades and without the negative no answer
    to the question of this image. So let us examine instead the
    history of the picture itself. Patricia Johnson McMillan
    who weaves in and out of Oswald’s life from interviewing
    him in Moscow to caretaking Maria after his death had control
    of his possessions as well as his narrative. If it was a painting
    what would you do?

  12. Anthony Summers points out in his book, that in the Oswald photo, he is hold the newspapers The Worker in one hand, and The Militant in the other. Summers points out that the views of each paper are diametrically the opposite. One is aligned with the Communist party in Russia, and the other, with the party in the U.S. He notes that no true self-respecting Communist would hold views. The photo may well be real, but the purpose staged. Likely part of the agent provocateur to discredit the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. But underlying purpose, I believe, was to associate Oswald with the gun. Sounds like it might be Guy Bannister at work behind the scenes, just the the leaflet “Hans Off Cuba” distribution in New Orleans.

      1. S.R."Dusty" Rohde

        The Worker also published a political cartoon depicting a rascist with a knife that had stabbed Kennedy. Oswald was strongly anti-racist.

  13. For me, the posture of the person in the photograph is as interesting as the head of Oswald and the shadows. It appears the man has weight on his right leg with his hip somewhat raised, his left leg extended several inches … but the direction of his feet seem sort of odd … and then, he seems to be compensating to ensure his (rather broad) shoulders are fairly parallel. Try to replicate the pose, and you’ll see that you have to adjust your shoulders, otherwise one is definitely elevated. Other images of Oswald do not reveal similar shoulders of comparable posture imv. It’s definitely a “pose,” but what was the purpose of this staged photo?

    1. Ask Marina- she took it.
      The more convoluted the explanation for the photos not being genuine, the stronger the evidence that they are.
      At least two witnesses to Oswald’s target practice with the same rifle were interviewed by CBS in 1964.

      1. And who would those people be? There were people who claimed to see Oswald at a rifle range shortly before the assassination, but these sightings were rejected by the Warren Commission because the person was spotted driving up in a car, and it was during periods of time when Oswald should have been at work at the TSBD. Are these the people you’re talking about? And if not, please provide some documentation for this claim. You have a habit of posting things such as this without any backup, and never producing any when challenged.

        As far as I am aware, there is no documented incident of Oswald practicing with any rifle after his return from the USSR.

          1. Please explain how Oswald removed his alleged rifile from the Paine garage, and then apparently returned it, on successive weekends, without anyone noticing. Then explain how Oswald travelled to the firing range and back as he didn’t drive.

          2. Who would notice?
            How do you know no one did?
            Even his wife didn’t know that the rifle was missing from the garage on Nov. 22 until a detective picked up the blanket that he kept it in.

      2. I’m not sure which witnesses you’re referring to, but if it’s the Sports Drome incidents, you do remember that the WC decided it couldn’t have been him because Oswald was known to have been elsewhere on those occasions.

        Those photos are obvious fakes. When the photos are turned into transparencies and laid on top of each other, the faces are the exact same size, even though the bodies are different (the model was closer to the camera in some shots). And the background is exactly the same, as though all shots were taken on a tripod, not a hand-held camera.

        As for Marina, I again refer you to the HSCA report: “Marina Oswald Porter’s Statements of a Contradictory Nature”

      3. That is not an educated response, and it is very weak as a speculative one.

        Are you suggesting that Marina knew why she took the photograph and yet withheld the reason from authorities? If that is the case, then nothing Marina said, none of her testimony should have been taken seriously.

        The more simple the explanation, the more easily it will be adhered to by the ignorant and uninformed. Stick with generalities, avoid small detail, never consider nuance and context. In other words, keep is simple, stupid.

        1. The more simple the explanation, the more likely that it is the correct explanation.
          That is the Achilles Heel of every conspiracy theory.

          1. How simple is it to explain Oswald’s motive? How simple to explain his actions after the assassination? How simple to explain his statements, at least those the public is privy to? How simple to explain the myriad of contradictions in the Warren Report? And how simple to explain why the CIA and other agencies were following his movements, at the very least. Assign one simple sentence in reply to each question.

          2. “The more simple the explanation, the more likely that it is the correct explanation.”

            You mean like with Watergate? You know, how it was just a “third-rate burglary,” just like Ron Ziegler said.

            Simplicity is for simpletons, which is why complex, involved plots are so often reduced to the most basic, often inaccurate, explanations.

          3. “The more simple the explanation, the more likely that it is the correct explanation.”

            Photon makes a good point. JFK was taken down in a domestic coup, and the right wingers got their war in Vietnam. What’s complicated about that?

          4. Which right winger shot JFK? Instead of unfounded accusations, how about a little physical evidence. Better yet, how about ANY evidence. How about a weapon. How about a credible witness- not a mental patient or somebody in Florida or New Orleans. Anybody who can prove that they reported another shooter within 72 hours.

  14. Marina actually showed Marguerite Oswald a photo of Lee with a rifle after the assassination inscribed “To my daughter, June, with love.”

    I don’t think it’s ever been established where or when that photo was taken.

  15. The photos are genuine. When Oswald said that “in time” he would prove them fakes is because he wanted his day in court. The shadows are different because those types of camera leak light…they were not shadows but leaks of light into the camera.

  16. Problem with the Hani Farid analysis that jumps out at me despite my lack of technical knowledge of photogrammetry: Why is he comparing the most famous BYP to a mugshot of Oswald, instead of comparing it with the other 2 BYPs?

    Problem with the HSCA’s photo panel, if Jim DiEugenio is correct about the Eisendrath Report: the panel was incapable of determining how photos were manipulated when tested with unrelated doctored photos. Unfortunately I haven’t found this report online yet though, and DiEugenio’s claims about its contents are second-hand I believe.

    1. Something is funky with my browser. Anyway, third point:

      The JFK Conspiracy (1978), Tony Summers’ BBC documentary on the assassination, from approximately 11:00 to 14:00. Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent and photo expert Malcolm Thompson: “One can only conclude that Oswald’s head has been stuck onto a chin, not being Oswald’s chin. Then to cover up the montage, retouching has been done… I think they’re a fake.” Confirmed by studies by a Canadian Air Force photographic analyst.

      I remain agnostic about this subject, but I certainly think it’s worth considering that not all experts agree with the HSCA, and further, that the HSCA photo panel’s qualifications need to be confirmed before we can take their word on this matter.

  17. No one has yet proved beyond doubt that the photos are faked. Despite Oswald’s denials and Robert Groden’s theorizing on the provenance of said photos the evidence strongly suggests that the photos are genuine. Does anyone know of any recent, thorough studies of the photos by qualified analysts?

  18. Marina admitted taking the photographs.Oswald lied-why?
    If they are genuine Oswald must be the assassin- ergo 45 years of desperate attempts to explain away the fact that he was proud enough of his rifle to have his wife take a picture of him with it in the backyard of a house he didn’t even own.

    1. The most likely reason he lied about the photo is because it looks incriminating. Especially after he denied owning a rifle.

      One thing that has always struck me as strange about Oswald was his leaving a huge trail of incriminating evidence behind. Besides leaving spent shell casings in the Book Depository by the sniper window, which he could’ve easily picked up off the floor before he hid the rifle, he left his wallet and spent shell casings at the Tippit murder scene. Then at he police station he denied everything. Oswald is either one of the dumbest criminals in history or he was framed.

    2. Mr. (Ms.?) Photon, I don’t follow your logic. Oswald posed with firearms in his backyard, therefore he murdered the President? Even if the photos were the real McCoy, I don’t think the second statement logically follows the first. Plus I think a great many renters and long-term mortgage holders might take offense at the implied insult in your comments. I mean, really, not only is Oswald a Presidential assassin, he is house renter to boot!

  19. No. These photographs were supposed to have been taken behind a house in Dallas. Marina contradicted herself in different testimony about them, she remembered one, then after questioning about a second on the roll another she finally remembered taking. Then a third showed up. The shadows are different in the background between the face and body and there is evidence of re touching in the area around the face. There were slightly different poses in two of the pictures. Just what I’ve read and seen.

  20. Like many people, I remember the day JFK was murdered in great detail. I had just turned eleven years old, but it hit me hard. I cried as I walked home from school. My mother had the TV on when I got home. We all cried. My father always had a picture of JFK on the wall in his office.

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