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Another picture of Chopin?

Posted By: JoelW

Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 07:53 PM

I was browsing the internet for "Chopin death mask" when I came across this photo that I have never seen before:

[Linked Image]

and with some minor adjustments to bring it out a bit more:

[Linked Image]


It is clearly not the official Bisson photo, as his face appears positioned slightly differently, and his eyes look to be closed. It seems to me like this photo was snapped, perhaps accidentally, by Bisson when they met for his picture in 1848.

There's no doubt this is Chopin. The hair and clothes are exactly the same as in the Bisson official photograph, and his facial features are no doubt his. Why have I, and a lot of you I suspect, never seen this picture before? Why is it unknown?


Posted By: Polyphonist

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 07:55 PM

Why'd you use the spoiler thing for the photos?

Nice find.
Posted By: JoelW

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 07:57 PM

Meh, I made it regular. Haha
Posted By: debrucey

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 08:18 PM

I don't think it was possible in those days to 'accidentally' take a photograph
Posted By: JoelW

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 08:21 PM

Originally Posted by debrucey
I don't think it was possible in those days to 'accidentally' take a photograph


You're right. I forgot about the insanely slow shutter speed. This photo is puzzling me. It doesn't look posed, yet pictures back then had to be posed.

...
Posted By: Carey

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 09:07 PM

Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by debrucey
I don't think it was possible in those days to 'accidentally' take a photograph


You're right. I forgot about the insanely slow shutter speed. This photo is puzzling me. It doesn't look posed, yet pictures back then had to be posed.

...


Actually, camera shutters weren't invented until the 1870s. smile
Posted By: JoelW

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 09:21 PM

W
Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by debrucey
I don't think it was possible in those days to 'accidentally' take a photograph


You're right. I forgot about the insanely slow shutter speed. This photo is puzzling me. It doesn't look posed, yet pictures back then had to be posed.

...


Actually, camera shutters weren't invented until the 1870s. smile


I mean... insanely long exposure time. Haha
Posted By: ChopinAddict

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 10:30 PM

I see that the original photo (the unedited one) goes back to a blog by our Elene, so hopefully she will see this thread. smile
Posted By: Bob Newbie

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 11:17 PM

it looks like a "daguerreotype"
Posted By: Carey

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/29/13 11:48 PM

Originally Posted by Bob Newbie
it looks like a "daguerreotype"


Which was invented in 1839 - so that was the only technology available in the 1840s.
Posted By: Polyphonist

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 12:23 AM

Originally Posted by JoelW
W
Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by debrucey
I don't think it was possible in those days to 'accidentally' take a photograph


You're right. I forgot about the insanely slow shutter speed. This photo is puzzling me. It doesn't look posed, yet pictures back then had to be posed.

...


Actually, camera shutters weren't invented until the 1870s. smile


I mean... insanely long exposure time. Haha


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_photography grin
Posted By: tomasino

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 03:15 AM

Polyphonist,

I did a quick search of Chopin images and came up with quite a few different croppings of what appears to be the same image, and the photo you're showing can be explained as the most extreme crop of all, of the same image. The more you crop into the image, the softer and less sharp the image will be. There are other possible explanations too--someone attempted to make a copy of the original image and didn't properly focus the copy camera? Could be. At any rate, I don't believe it is a different image from the same shoot, or a new, heretofore unknown image.

Tomasino
Posted By: Polyphonist

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 03:23 AM

I think you're talking to JoelW (the OP), not me. He was the one who found the image. smile
Posted By: JoelW

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 03:53 AM

Originally Posted by tomasino
Polyphonist,

I did a quick search of Chopin images and came up with quite a few different croppings of what appears to be the same image, and the photo you're showing can be explained as the most extreme crop of all, of the same image. The more you crop into the image, the softer and less sharp the image will be. There are other possible explanations too--someone attempted to make a copy of the original image and didn't properly focus the copy camera? Could be. At any rate, I don't believe it is a different image from the same shoot, or a new, heretofore unknown image.

Tomasino


Sorry but I don't think this explains it at all. There is a CLEAR difference between these two photos.

The head seems to be slightly angled differently and look at the mouth. It's a dead giveaway.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Posted By: outo

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 04:34 AM

Originally Posted by JoelW


Sorry but I don't think this explains it at all. There is a CLEAR difference between these two photos.




I'd say it's just a photoshopped version of the same shot. There are too many similarities and all the differences can be easily explained by editing the photo.
Posted By: JoelW

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 04:51 AM

Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by JoelW


Sorry but I don't think this explains it at all. There is a CLEAR difference between these two photos.




I'd say it's just a photoshopped version of the same shot. There are too many similarities and all the differences can be easily explained by editing the photo.


There are a few reasons why I feel this isn't the case:

1) To photoshop the actual angle of Chopin's face would be a very unusual and I assume difficult edit.

2) What is the motive for photoshopping such a photo in that way?

3) Look at the photo's top and bottom edges. See the wear? This isn't just an online picture, this is an actually physical photograph.
Posted By: ChopinAddict

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 04:57 AM

Explanation
Posted By: JoelW

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 05:00 AM

I see. Who is Mary-Ros Douglas? I can't find anything about her.
Posted By: Auntie Lynn

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 05:16 AM

Fred was already pretty sick by the time the subject photo was taken - you can clearly see the ravages of the disease - he was not long for this world, poor guy. Anyway, my favorite continues to be his portrait by his friend Delacroix...
Posted By: ChopinAddict

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 07:06 AM

She is a PW member. (Elene is a PW member too.)
Posted By: Nikolas

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 07:14 AM

Originally Posted by JoelW
There are a few reasons why I feel this isn't the case:

1) To photoshop the actual angle of Chopin's face would be a very unusual and I assume difficult edit.

2) What is the motive for photoshopping such a photo in that way?

3) Look at the photo's top and bottom edges. See the wear? This isn't just an online picture, this is an actually physical photograph.
You have a lot to learn about PS I think!

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Posted By: -Frycek

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 11:46 AM

Originally Posted by JoelW
I see. Who is Mary-Ros Douglas? I can't find anything about her.




1. British civil servant

2. UK Breeder of champion Norwegian forest cats

3. Lifelong Chopin lover and player, occasionally found here on the Totally Devoted thread, posting as MaryRose

4. And more to the point, photoshopper extraordinare. She did
this one awhile back. Trying, I think to erase some of the
effects of his illness, portraying him as he might've been
on a better day. Good, isn't she?

Posted By: tomasino

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 09:50 PM

Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by tomasino
Polyphonist,

I did a quick search of Chopin images and came up with quite a few different croppings of what appears to be the same image, and the photo you're showing can be explained as the most extreme crop of all, of the same image. The more you crop into the image, the softer and less sharp the image will be. There are other possible explanations too--someone attempted to make a copy of the original image and didn't properly focus the copy camera? Could be. At any rate, I don't believe it is a different image from the same shoot, or a new, heretofore unknown image.

Tomasino


Sorry but I don't think this explains it at all. There is a CLEAR difference between these two photos.

The head seems to be slightly angled differently and look at the mouth. It's a dead giveaway.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


You may be on to something with the mouth, as there is an unexplained shadow coming up from the left side of his mouth (his left). But there are still other explanations for that one detail--perhaps were looking at a photo made from a copy neg--which I believe to be the case--and a bit of dark fuzz or something, or anything dropped onto the photo being copied, or there was damage to the copy neg during development or subsequent handling. There are any number of other things that might give rise to this detail.

As to the angle of his head, I'm not quite sure what you're seeing, unless it's maybe that his head in the shot that is cropped at mid-chest, is canted just so slightly clockwise (clockwise to the viewer). I'd have to get a square out to see if that is really happening. But anyway, if it's from a copy neg--again, as I suspect it is--it would have been very easy to cause the change in angle by slightly turning the picture being copied. Such a turning could have even happened by accident.

As to what someone above referred to as "wear marks" along the edges, there are numerous causes for these, all supporting the idea that the image is from a copy neg. The lines along the right and left side are very typical of marks left by abrasion, or touching, or the masking of a 4X5 film holder, no matter what type of film is being used. But the marks along the bottom? I'll go even further. It looks like the kind of imperfect development one gets using Poloroid type 55 positive/negative film when the film is either old or cold. Also, the horizontal lines across the top look very much like the lines left by a Poloroid 4X5 holder when the Poloroid type 55 film isn't pulled out evenly and quickly. I've seen it a hundred times. The usual tell tale signature of Poloroid type 55 that fine art photographers love to include--the little mesh holes across the top edge--was probably cropped off, as intended by the Poloroid Corporation.

Style is another reason I believe this is from a copy neg. The style of cropping in the 1830s and 40s was often full body, or from the waist or mid-torso up. The very tight head shot came into its own quite a bit later. Also, think about what the photographer would have had to go through in Chopin's time to produce such a tight head shot. He would have had to laboriously frame the tight head shot, using a very cumbersome and heavy wooden tripod, and then attempt to force focus his camera when his bellows simply wouldn't allow for it, and then wasting an expensive piece of photographic material on a picture he knew would not be in the style of his times, nor would it be, could it be, sharp--I'll admit, this last objection would be a possible explanation for why it is so very soft in focus.

For all of these reasons, I believe this photo is from a rather inept copy neg made on Poloroid type 55 positive/negative film. It would have been sometime after, say, 1975, as this film was introduced about that time or later. All sans photoshop.

Tomasino


Posted By: Goomer Piles

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 10:42 PM

Originally Posted by tomasino
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by tomasino
Polyphonist,

I did a quick search of Chopin images and came up with quite a few different croppings of what appears to be the same image, and the photo you're showing can be explained as the most extreme crop of all, of the same image. The more you crop into the image, the softer and less sharp the image will be. There are other possible explanations too--someone attempted to make a copy of the original image and didn't properly focus the copy camera? Could be. At any rate, I don't believe it is a different image from the same shoot, or a new, heretofore unknown image.

Tomasino


Sorry but I don't think this explains it at all. There is a CLEAR difference between these two photos.

The head seems to be slightly angled differently and look at the mouth. It's a dead giveaway.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


You may be on to something with the mouth, as there is an unexplained shadow coming up from the left side of his mouth (his left). But there are still other explanations for that one detail--perhaps were looking at a photo made from a copy neg--which I believe to be the case--and a bit of dark fuzz or something, or anything dropped onto the photo being copied, or there was damage to the copy neg during development or subsequent handling. There are any number of other things that might give rise to this detail.

As to the angle of his head, I'm not quite sure what you're seeing, unless it's maybe that his head in the shot that is cropped at mid-chest, is canted just so slightly clockwise (clockwise to the viewer). I'd have to get a square out to see if that is really happening. But anyway, if it's from a copy neg--again, as I suspect it is--it would have been very easy to cause the change in angle by slightly turning the picture being copied. Such a turning could have even happened by accident.

As to what someone above referred to as "wear marks" along the edges, there are numerous causes for these, all supporting the idea that the image is from a copy neg. The lines along the right and left side are very typical of marks left by abrasion, or touching, or the masking of a 4X5 film holder, no matter what type of film is being used. But the marks along the bottom? I'll go even further. It looks like the kind of imperfect development one gets using Poloroid type 55 positive/negative film when the film is either old or cold. Also, the horizontal lines across the top look very much like the lines left by a Poloroid 4X5 holder when the Poloroid type 55 film isn't pulled out evenly and quickly. I've seen it a hundred times. The usual tell tale signature of Poloroid type 55 that fine art photographers love to include--the little mesh holes across the top edge--was probably cropped off, as intended by the Poloroid Corporation.

Style is another reason I believe this is from a copy neg. The style of cropping in the 1830s and 40s was often full body, or from the waist or mid-torso up. The very tight head shot came into its own quite a bit later. Also, think about what the photographer would have had to go through in Chopin's time to produce such a tight head shot. He would have had to laboriously frame the tight head shot, using a very cumbersome and heavy wooden tripod, and then attempt to force focus his camera when his bellows simply wouldn't allow for it, and then wasting an expensive piece of photographic material on a picture he knew would not be in the style of his times, nor would it be, could it be, sharp--I'll admit, this last objection would be a possible explanation for why it is so very soft in focus.

For all of these reasons, I believe this photo is from a rather inept copy neg made on Poloroid type 55 positive/negative film. It would have been sometime after, say, 1975, as this film was introduced about that time or later. All sans photoshop.

Tomasino

Five paragraphs that deny Photoshopping, even after the explanation was already given? Wow!
Posted By: Damon

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/30/13 11:45 PM

Originally Posted by Goomer Piles

Five paragraphs that deny Photoshopping, even after the explanation was already given? Wow!


I think it was Photo Impacted.
Posted By: JoelW

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/31/13 03:00 AM

Originally Posted by tomasino
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by tomasino
Polyphonist,

I did a quick search of Chopin images and came up with quite a few different croppings of what appears to be the same image, and the photo you're showing can be explained as the most extreme crop of all, of the same image. The more you crop into the image, the softer and less sharp the image will be. There are other possible explanations too--someone attempted to make a copy of the original image and didn't properly focus the copy camera? Could be. At any rate, I don't believe it is a different image from the same shoot, or a new, heretofore unknown image.

Tomasino


Sorry but I don't think this explains it at all. There is a CLEAR difference between these two photos.

The head seems to be slightly angled differently and look at the mouth. It's a dead giveaway.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


You may be on to something with the mouth, as there is an unexplained shadow coming up from the left side of his mouth (his left). But there are still other explanations for that one detail--perhaps were looking at a photo made from a copy neg--which I believe to be the case--and a bit of dark fuzz or something, or anything dropped onto the photo being copied, or there was damage to the copy neg during development or subsequent handling. There are any number of other things that might give rise to this detail.

As to the angle of his head, I'm not quite sure what you're seeing, unless it's maybe that his head in the shot that is cropped at mid-chest, is canted just so slightly clockwise (clockwise to the viewer). I'd have to get a square out to see if that is really happening. But anyway, if it's from a copy neg--again, as I suspect it is--it would have been very easy to cause the change in angle by slightly turning the picture being copied. Such a turning could have even happened by accident.

As to what someone above referred to as "wear marks" along the edges, there are numerous causes for these, all supporting the idea that the image is from a copy neg. The lines along the right and left side are very typical of marks left by abrasion, or touching, or the masking of a 4X5 film holder, no matter what type of film is being used. But the marks along the bottom? I'll go even further. It looks like the kind of imperfect development one gets using Poloroid type 55 positive/negative film when the film is either old or cold. Also, the horizontal lines across the top look very much like the lines left by a Poloroid 4X5 holder when the Poloroid type 55 film isn't pulled out evenly and quickly. I've seen it a hundred times. The usual tell tale signature of Poloroid type 55 that fine art photographers love to include--the little mesh holes across the top edge--was probably cropped off, as intended by the Poloroid Corporation.

Style is another reason I believe this is from a copy neg. The style of cropping in the 1830s and 40s was often full body, or from the waist or mid-torso up. The very tight head shot came into its own quite a bit later. Also, think about what the photographer would have had to go through in Chopin's time to produce such a tight head shot. He would have had to laboriously frame the tight head shot, using a very cumbersome and heavy wooden tripod, and then attempt to force focus his camera when his bellows simply wouldn't allow for it, and then wasting an expensive piece of photographic material on a picture he knew would not be in the style of his times, nor would it be, could it be, sharp--I'll admit, this last objection would be a possible explanation for why it is so very soft in focus.

For all of these reasons, I believe this photo is from a rather inept copy neg made on Poloroid type 55 positive/negative film. It would have been sometime after, say, 1975, as this film was introduced about that time or later. All sans photoshop.

Tomasino




How would you explain the left side of his mouth angled more upwards? And look at the left side of his hair, it's shaped differently. I guess photoshop can do this but I don't see any motive. Oh well.
Posted By: ChopinAddict

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/31/13 03:04 AM

Mary-Rose wanted Chopin to be pain-free and happier, that's why the left side of his mouth is angled more upwards...
Posted By: boo1234

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/31/13 03:32 AM

Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by tomasino
Polyphonist,

I did a quick search of Chopin images and came up with quite a few different croppings of what appears to be the same image, and the photo you're showing can be explained as the most extreme crop of all, of the same image. The more you crop into the image, the softer and less sharp the image will be. There are other possible explanations too--someone attempted to make a copy of the original image and didn't properly focus the copy camera? Could be. At any rate, I don't believe it is a different image from the same shoot, or a new, heretofore unknown image.

Tomasino


Sorry but I don't think this explains it at all. There is a CLEAR difference between these two photos.

The head seems to be slightly angled differently and look at the mouth. It's a dead giveaway.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]



It's the same image... if you superimpose the sepia color image on top of the black and white in photoshop, you can scale it down and it fits exactly... look, I changed the opacity of the sepia color image and scaled it down to fit the well known photo:

[Linked Image]

Uploaded with ImageShack.us


notice how it looks like I just simply scaled the image down and put it onto the original... In fact I actually changed the opacity of the top layer to about 45% so you can see the bottom original picture through it. Except since they are a complete match, it looks like the top picture is complete with 100% opacity. There was no need for image rotation either to get a perfect match, which suggests that it is indeed the same picture but cropped since it would be almost impossible for that to happen in 2 separate photo sittings.
Posted By: -Frycek

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/31/13 05:40 AM

Thank you boo! It's amazing. Several of us recognized it, knew exactly who did it, when, why and how and stated this plainly. MaryRose modified it from the 1849 dag and shared it with Elene and me several years ago. ChopinAddict even posted a link to Elene's blog (where it's clearly identified as MaryRose's) from which it apparently spread to the net. And ya'll are still going on about it. Is this how internet myths /urban legends are started?

MaryRose is having computer access challenges currently but I've let her know. Hopefully, she'll claim it sometime this weekend.
Posted By: Elene

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 05/31/13 06:14 AM

Hi, all--

Frycek alerted me to this just now. I don't know whether to laugh or... well, something. The image in question is indeed Mary-Rose's altered version of the 1849 photo, in which she attempted to put our Fryderyk back into a rather better state of health and happiness. I think ChopinAddict's comment was exactly right.

I find this piece of art quite beautiful, especially since he appears to be looking at us through a mist or veil, which seems to me to express the many uncertainties we have about him. It also seems very alive and in motion, as if he is just about to speak.

I don't know what to make of the fact that there was apparently a link to my blog, which distinctly states that the picture was made by Mary-Rose (who is a long-time denizen of the "Devoted to Chopin" thread, less active lately), and yet you didn't look there for information. Right under Mary-Rose's portrait is a shot of Clésinger’s bust based on the death mask, which is why googling "Chopin death mask" yielded this image.

So some of you have been arguing passionately about nothing. (And spelling "Polaroid" wrong in the process.)

I've noticed that googling images can lead one in some very strange directions.

The original blog post: Fryc in Print

Elene
Posted By: Goomer Piles

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 06/01/13 07:48 PM

And this thread comes to a screeching halt as the know-it-alls retreat in silent embarrassment!
Posted By: Carey

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 06/01/13 08:05 PM

Originally Posted by Elene
So some of you have been arguing passionately about nothing.


Seems to happen a lot around here !!! grin
Posted By: Palindrome

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 06/01/13 10:47 PM

Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by debrucey
I don't think it was possible in those days to 'accidentally' take a photograph


You're right. I forgot about the insanely slow shutter speed. This photo is puzzling me. It doesn't look posed, yet pictures back then had to be posed.

...


Actually, camera shutters weren't invented until the 1870s. smile


Hmmmm..... 22 years for the shutter to make its appearance. That IS a long time.
Posted By: EdwardianPiano

Re: Another picture of Chopin? - 06/04/13 08:51 PM

Interesting re the photo, but I'm more fascinated by your Frederic experiences you describe on your blog. wow
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