Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

Technological Lying

by Revilo P. Oliver

LONG AGO, in the era when our race was still sane and specifically in the period between c. 1840 and c. 1860, the new art of photography was practiced by the daguerrotype process, with images recorded on copper plates. (1) That gave rise to the aphorism, true at the time, that “Photographs do not lie.”

(1. A fine collection of daguerreotypes, some of persons of prominence, is reproduced in Beaumont Newhall’s The Daguerreotype in America, 3d edition, New York, Dover, 1976.)

With the development of celluloid film and printing on sensitized paper, photography became more versatile, and the resources of the new art were early exploited by the spiritualist ‘mediums,’ intent on fleecing suckers (such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). The aphorism had to be revised: “Photographs do not lie, but photographers do.”

It is quite easy to produce photographs that do lie. In August 1988 some eight to ten thousand emotionally unstable individuals, calling themselves “charismatics” because they were, or pretended to be, subject to fits of temporary insanity, assembled in Lubbock, Texas, to see miracles. They not only saw the celebrated Mary playing hide and seek among the cumulus clouds, but saw the doorway to Heaven open in the deep blue of the Texas sky, and, being up-to-date, they took photographs of what they saw. The local photographers, venally cautious lest they alienate potential customers, locked their common sense up in a closet and affirmed that, so far as they could tell, the photographs were genuine.

I was amused, because when I was about twelve, I entertained myself for a time by producing photographs that showed suitably transparent ghosts, some pensive, some malevolent, haunting drawing rooms or operating typewriters, dogs (equipped with tinsel wings) flying over housetops or roosting on the topmost branches of trees, and similar phenomena. I had even ascertained by experiment that the ordinary good folding ‘Kodak,’ preferably of post-card size, with a rectilinear lens was better for my purposes than a more professional model with a faster lens. Needless to say, the negatives of my double-exposures, like the ones made at Lubbock, could not have deceived a professional photographer for an instant.

Trick photography, requiring greater ingenuity and resources, was early developed by the producers of cinematographic films, but probably did not deceive many spectators, who knew they were witnessing a contrived illusion, even if they did not know how it had been produced.

Photographers for the press early devised means of misrepresenting the subjects of their photographs to fit the propaganda line peddled by their employers. Some of the means were quite simple. One remembers a widely reproduced photograph published at the time that vermin were swarming into Selma, Alabama, to harass Americans in that town. Brutal “racists” were shown as they cruelly held down a saintly nigger bitch. One margin of the picture had, of course, been cropped to conceal the butcher knife in the poor dear’s hand.

A similar trick was used by the Jews’ boob-tubes during the year they worked to befuddle stupid Americans in preparation for the riots in Los Angeles, Toronto, Atlanta, and other cities. They exhibited a short sequence that showed a nigger criminal being subdued by police officers while he resisted arrest. Concealed from the victims of “television” was the beginning of the scene, when the nigger attacked the police who had finally succeeded in capturing him after he tried to escape by driving at a hundred miles an hour on the streets of a residential district. (2) The net result was a photographic lie, although, so far as we now know, the pictures that were exhibited out of context had not been doctored.

(2. I have just been informed by telephone that in one of our corrupt courts a feeble-minded or alien jury awarded the nigger, King, a few million dollars of additional salary for his performance.)

We all know about the television films that exhibited the cruel oppression of niggers in South Africa who had been hired to stand behind barbed wire fences and look sad, or were engaged in “peaceful protests” during which they were cruelly used by White “racists,” as was proved by segments of film produced in Hollywood and interpolated in the news reel.

But technological progress marches on and makes it ever easier to delude the boobs. In the issue for May 1992 of Skeptical Briefs, which are pamphlets separately published as monthly supplements to the Skeptical Inquirer, Tom Flynn describes the techniques of falsification used in two recent motion pictures.

Actors were photographed as they, suspended on steel cables or supported by steel underpinnings, made motions suggesting that they were flying. The negatives were then given to exerts, who erased the images of the cables or steel bars from each frame of the film and filled in the gaps thus created by inserting the requisite portions of pictures of the background. The negatives thus interpolated were then copied by laser onto other negatives, which were technically indistinguishable from genuine pictures. Making such cinemas is a tedious process, since each frame of the original negatives has to be altered, and there are twenty-four frames for each second of action, but by use of this technique lying pictures suitable for reproduction in newspapers or magazines can be manufactured in short order and with photographic equipment that is generally available.

Technology, however, incessantly progresses to what is new and better. Photography in the accepted sense of that word, i.e., pictures made by light impinging on sensitized film, is being supplanted by digital recording of scenes with a combined camera and phonographic microphone, barbarously called a “camcorder,” which records scenes as ‘graphics files’ on electronic tape in the way that data are recorded on a disk in your computer. Such a tape was the source of the pictures of nigger King when he was resisting arrest.

As Mr. Flynn tells us, ‘graphics files’ are “the ideal format for easy manipulation.” He is right. I am informed by an expert in such matters that whereas a fairly high degree of expertise and precise workmanship is requisite to produce fabricated negatives that appear genuine, anyone can learn to use the equipment now available for copying video-tapes to erase or replace parts of pictures, just as you can interpolate, delete, or replace words or phrases in files on your computer.

Mr. Flynn warns us specifically, “The days when a skilled photoanalyst could be sure of detecting a distorted image may soon be history. The next Rodney King-style scandal could be set in motion by faked camcorder footage, and the fakery may prove difficult or impossible for authorities to detect.”

In other words, the Judaization of photography is now complete. Photographs can lie — and they will lie with increasing frequency. You can no longer believe your own eyes.

* * *

Source: Liberty Bell magazine, July 1992

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  1. Walt Hampton
    March 7, 2018 at 9:37 pm — Reply

    Oliver wasn’t hesitant about calling a spade
    a spade (pun intended)!

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