Study concludes Oswald backyard photo not faked

For more than forty-five years the the authenticity of a photo of Lee Harvey Oswald in his backyard has disputed. Oswald said it was fake. And JFK conspiracy theorists — who believe the assassination was part of a government plot — cite it as a key piece of evidence in their case”

Better make that “a few JFK conspiracy theorists,”  I don’t know of any working JFK journalist or published historian who says the Oswald backyard photos are “key” to understanding the case. 

“The claim goes that Oswald’s pose is physically implausible, and that there are inconsistencies in the lighting, shadows, geometry, and proportions of the image. Any evidence of tampering in the photo would naturally be used as evidence for a conspiracy — as unlikely as that remains. But two separate US inquiries have dismissed such claims. And now a study from Dartmouth College has used digital image forensics and 3D modeling to confirm the inquiries’ findings, and prove that Oswald’s pose in the picture is indeed plausible.”

Source: JFK assassination: Lee Harvey Oswald photo not a fake (Wired UK)

18 thoughts on “Study concludes Oswald backyard photo not faked”

  1. Facial recognition software is not in my field of expertise, so I can’t really comment on that.I was puzzled though, by seeing some people after doing a oswald image search, that obviously weren’t him. Some of the purported oswald photos in Minsk are laughable.

  2. Roy W Kornbluth

    For the last 30 years Marina has told everyone who asks, inc. Jack Anderson and Jesse Ventura, that she took posed pictures of Lee in the backyard of their house at 214 Neely St. The Oswalds even gave a copy of one of these photos to the de Mohrenschildts. LHO inscribed it, “To my friend George from Lee Oswald.” In Russian Marina added a sarcastic, “Hunter of fascists ha-ha-ha!!!”

    A coincidence: around the time LHO is supposed to have ordered the rifle and pistol, there were much-publicized hearings in Congress about just that–mail-order firearms. Was one of Ozzie’s easy-money “jobs” for his CIA or FBI or ONI handlers to do just that? With a false name to a PO box? Or did someone just put a bug in his ear? Someone like the mysterious, everywhere Roscoe Anthony White, who billed himself as a photography expert, joining the DPD in that capacity less than two months before the Big Event?

    Roscoe A. White:
    –knew Oswald in the Marines, was in his unit
    –knew Jack Ruby, and all the mobsters and dirty cops in Big D
    –had no corroboration for his whereabouts 11-22
    –kept coming into a LOT of money in the 1960s, seldom employed
    –died in a mysterious fire-explosion 9-23-71 shortly after finding religion

    RAW’s son Ricky supposedly found a box of his effects and souvenirs. Included was a first-generation copy of a similarly posed Lee Oswald in full commie regalia.

    1. Obviously you never read David B. Perry’s investigation which completely destroys the Rocoe White story.
      Oswald and White were in the same Marine Air Wing-with 8,000 other guys including pilots. While they traveled to Asia on the same ship, so did hundreds of other Marines. They were in different air groups and different squadrons. They served hundreds of miles apart.
      There is no evidence that he knew Jack Ruby. There isn’t even any evidence to support his wife’s claim that she worked for Ruby-the photo supposedly showing her with Ruby was actually taken with a stripper Ruby employed.
      The mysterious explosion was due to an inappropriately stored out-of-date can of flammable material coming in contact with welding residue-an industrial accident that injured another worker and resulted in a negligence award.
      There is no evidence aside from claims from interested parties that White was a ” photographic expert”- or even that he had a hobby interest in photography.
      This whole myth was propagated to get a book deal. When the publisher that showed interest found out that several documents involved were clear forgeries, they dropped out.
      But some folks just don’t get the word. Roy, can you explain why White’s journal from the late 50s was written with a felt pen-when such pens weren’t available until almost a decade after it was supposedly written?

      1. Roy W Kornbluth

        By the way, further evidence that LHO knew RAW, and all too well: when car #10 came to his house at 1:00 and beep-beeped, there were two men in the car, JD Tippit and probably RAW. LHO might not have seen/heard them and didn’t go out because of that. Or if he DID see/hear them, he didn’t go out for a good reason, his well-learned fear of the very scary CIA contract-killer RAW. Later scenario, LHO at the bus-stop not for long, maybe picked up by car #10, sans RAW, and Lee later bolted when he saw the first sign of the killer White. Which may have caused a little disagreement between JDT and RAW, “Whyntcha keep the punk?” Blam times 5.
        At least one witness, Aquilla Clemens I believe, said Tippit’s killer said before leaving, “You poor dumb cop.” JDT was a lifer, RAW was a newbie with no intention of staying. And no respect for the job or who did it.

      2. Roy W Kornbluth

        And surely you don’t deny Tippit and White knew each other? Practically next-door neighbors, long acquainted. Though RAW didn’t go to one of his best friend’s funeral. After Jack Ruby gunned down LHO in the DPD basement, RAW rushed home, threw his family in the car and got the hell out of Dodge, er Dallas, to Oklahoma.

      3. Roy W Kornbluth

        I’ve seen plenty of DB perry’s “investigation” (Trans.: crap) about Roscoe White’s “story”. It pretty much boils down to: if someone didn’t hand DBP a Perry Mason-style case on a silver platter, tied in a bow, it’s not good enough for Mr. Perry, a career insurance investigator. One point at a time w/o wasting too much time:
        –LHO and RAW were all over the FAr East together, on a ship together for two months, and back in the States together. Are you telling me the older RAW, when they were in San Diego together then on a ship together for TWO MONTHS to Japan, one of em didn’t sidle up to the other and say, “Say, yer from Red River Valley Ticksiss? Ahm from Red River, Tixiss!” How many times they were in the same place, same time, they knew each other, if only by osmosis.
        –many Dallasites saw both Geneva and Roscoe WITH Jack Ruby, most famously Beverly Oliver who worked next door. And even the shock treatment that Roscoe made G take didn’t erase her own memories of the nearly countless interactions with that whole milieu.
        –“the mysterious explosion” OMG was the first and only time in the history of welding that a man has been running how many volts and amps of current and how many thousand degrees of heat and sparks ON TOP of a can of hidden combustible liquid?Q! RAW had just come back from a break to finish that little job. That can of super-gasoline or whatever it was was not there when he went on break. Everything in a welding booth is considered “hot” — no welder hss ever put flammable liqid under where he’s welding. “Inappropriately stored” in this case has to be the most malappropriate euphemism ever.
        –DPD hired RAW 10-7-63 as a clerk-photographer, and he quit exactly two years later. He worked with fingerprints and crime scene photog. He really went nuts with the “hobby” in the Marines, many pics he sent back with the faces blurred, his first ecstatic attempts at altering
        –I’ve never seen anywhere that White’s journal was from the late 50s. The one stolen by FBI? I always had the idea it was late 60s when he was growing a conscience. Felt tip pen? Never heard that, though funny story: JFK signed , in his inimitable scrawl, many famous important docs, even laws, with those new-fangled felt pens. And, major pi**er, they’re almost invisible now. I’ve seen a few. I’d like to catch ahold of the guy who invented em. (cont.)

  3. Speaking of low tech shadow logic, a relatively new observation (as far as I have seen) is that there are shadows of power lines that cross both the post supporting the stair and then cast back to cross the grass beyond the post, in line with the person’s feet. There are three wires, two closer together than the third. As power wires, they are fixed in space, not swaying in the breeze like a tree branches might. That they are not moving is reinforced by the consistent spacing of the wires from one photo to the next. Street view on google shows the power lines at the Neely St. house to this day, right where they should be to cast those shadows in the back yard.

    So what’s the point? Oswald’s shadow grows longer in one of the photos as compared to the other photos and is evident by the fact the shadow of his head goes vertical onto the white picket fence. In the other photos the shadow of his head is flat on the grass in front of the picket fence. His feet remain in the same location in the various back yard photos. So, it’s a simple matter of the sun setting and the shadows growing longer, no? Yes and no. His shadow is shown to grow longer and the only real explanation is that the sun is setting in the afternoon and shining on the face of the subject in the photo. That conflicts with the wire shadows. The wire shadows move forward toward the camera in the photo where Oswald’s shadow grows longer onto the picket fence. That is not how sun and shadows work. The wire shadows should move away from the camera. The photos were faked out of sequence with the setting sun’s path in the afternoon. Maybe somebody was a bit dyslexic in misinterpreted the wire shadows when laying out the “LHO” shadow.

    How’s that for 3D analysis? Credit for this goes to Terry Martin on the ROKC site.

  4. The UK flavor of Wired is a big fan of Hany Farid — despite his work’s having repeatedly been called into question. While he’s made some undeniable contributions to the field of forensic photo analysis, his true passion is for self-promotion, and all too often the allure of a wider audience of the chance to take a bold, contrarian stance seemingly gets in the way of his performing thorough, verifiable analysis. I’ve read a smattering of his papers and idly kicked the tires on a few of his tools, and to me they often try too hard to avoid complexity and ambiguity — and end up discarding accuracy and relevance as well.

  5. The photo wasn’t faked. Marina took it. But it’s another in a long list of distractions that prevent the truth from emerging.

  6. I did some background checking on Mr. Farid and found his software that can detect photo tampering or digital forgery, is evidenced based. The study was conducted in 2009, while a NOVA biopic was aired June 25, 2008. There was a difference in how Mr. Farid presented his approach to digital fakery in 2008, and how he went about showing the Oswald backyard photos are authentic. The differences were glaringly clear, even to this unranked amateur. Mr. Farid did not use much science with the Oswald backyard photo, just some information about shadows, yet on NOVA he used his own digital software packages to prove manipulation of several photos. I’d like Mr. Farid to use his software to disprove the backyard photos are fakes, instead of some low-tech shadow talk limited only to Oswald’s head. What Mr. Farid has proven is that the light and shadows on the head of Oswald are consistent. This trickery precluded Mr. Farid from looking at other more obvious anomalies in this most damning photograph. Oswald’s head shadow in Mr. Farid’s reproduction looks nothing like the mangled representation of a head in the Oswald photos; or, the disappearing fingers on one of Oswald’s hands (holding the paper). On the Nova episode, Mr. Farid is “invited” to work with Adobe Software, who happens to be working with the Feds, commercial businesses, and possibly the military (digital imagery). Decide for yourself if Mr. Farid is hewing the official line for his own welfare, or furthering the truth about the JFK assassination.

  7. thx for posting this link; we need to be aware of what the latest in forensics can tell us regarding this case, no matter what the conclusion, to come ever closer to a solution and the truth, all the while on the lookout for junk science (ie neutron activation analysis, etc.).

    1. We are having a conversation about you right now, Doctor Cinque. I enjoin all to read every single post from his aforementioned “journal”, this great defender of Mr. Oswald. All of them. Every one. From the beginning. Then you will understand.

  8. The videos “The Garrison Tapes”(1992) and Jack White’s “FAKE: The forged photo that framed Oswald” (1990) proved long ago that the backyard photos had been faked and were composites.

    The newest finding using accepted forensic face recognition overlay techniques,(See “Face Recognition in Forensic Science (Part 1)” page 4-5 :
    applications-part-1/) , which refute Farid can be found here:

    1. Richard McColman

      It’s always been particularly difficult for me to see how the decidedly squarish chin in the backyard-with-rifle photos jibe with Oswald’s anatomy in that area. Look at the Oswald mug shots from both New Orleans and Dallas, as well as the film taken of him being shuttled around by officers within the Dallas Police station, and it’s obvious just how narrow and pointed the arrested Oswald’s chin was. It’s difficult for me to see how a natural play of light and shadows on a face with a decidedly narrow and pointed chin can turn it into one that looks so decidedly squarish as seen in the backyard images.

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