Friday, July 17, 2009

8. Case of the missing button and much more...

In my last blog, I baited the blog audience with a written line about a missing button. I might add that where it is missing, is from the painting of Joseph Smith owned by the Community Church of Christ (RLDS Church). The button is located on the vest, possible to hold a pocket watch is my guess. I searched my saved images to see if I could see any button on the painting finally giving way to call Ron Romig, archivist for the Community Church of Christ. He graciously the next day went to check out the painted image himself and there was indeed no button. He gave me some possible ways it could have been removed such as a repaint due to damage or something, but when I looked at a photo of the painting taken in late 1800's, there is no button as well. My question is, why would you paint a button out of a painting? If you were restoring an image you would not edit things out of it, you would restore the painting to the previous state as to appear unaltered.

The funny thing is when I painted a painting from my picture a couple of months ago I missed the button too. The micro-scan we did in SLC at Borg Anderson Photography yielded much more information about the picture such as a button we had not seen before. Here is the interesting part; the Library of Congress image shows the suggestion of the button or buttons. As I have always contended it is an edited version of my Joseph Smith photo and not an edited version of the painting.

Another neat finding came about a couple of days ago as I was looking at the image in Photoshop. I had this feeling that I was just missing something, that there was more, more I could use to prove this was a real photograph. I was playing with the contrast and multiplying the image over its self to enhance what information was already present but not visual to the human eye. Suddenly, it was a WOW moment! What I noted was an "S" over the knot of his cravat. I multiplied it further to enhance the image, and there it was. What I think it could be is a monogrammed locket with an "S", or it could possibly be a tie pin, but it seems a bit large for that. I also see suggestions of a chain possible. Furthermore, I might add that the Community Church of Christ's painting does not have anything like this on it. I did read that Emma had a locket of Joseph's hair she wore, which was passed onto her daughter Julia. Is it possible Emma originally gave Joseph the locket, and he was photographed with it?
Note: In the photo, I superimposed a monogrammed gold "S" below it as an example, it doesn't appear to be the exact font but is similar in design.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

7. New ABC4 update July 6,2009 at 10:00 P.M. MST.

I know that my blog has been quite neglected for the past couple of months, due in part to the intense research work I have been doing. I guess an absence could be construed as a good thing in this case. About a month ago we went to Salt Lake and met with a LDS Church history rep as well as having our image micro-scanned by Borg Anderson Photography. The micro-scan was incredible! Many details that lay hidden in a small photo and are not apparent to the human eye are brought to life via an enlarged image. Borg's printed us a 12" x 48" center slice of the image to carry around as well as full 8" x 10". Working with this highly detailed image has brought some definitive conclusions which support our effort to authenticate this particular photo of Joseph.

After the brief visit with the LDS Church last month we were invited back for a meeting sometime after their new building opened on June 22,2009. This new meeting occurred last Wednesday and we (my husband and I) felt it went very well. We gave them an update to what we had learned and listened to what their feelings and intentions were as far as this effort. I feel it is their desire to be supportive in my research efforts but are cautious to attach the LDS name and image to the project just yet. I understand that they have been burnt on more then one occasion and are guarded because of this. I also understand that in order for them to be comfortable with this image they must somehow attach a paper trail and create provenance.

While I hope to find this information and have a couple possible directions to head in I hope that they don't get stuck exclusively on this concept. Not everything is documented via the written word, somethings are documented via a visual material such as a photo. Don't get me wrong, I did not feel in the least bit discouraged about what they told us, more or less we were told what role the LDS Church would like to play in this research work. Overall I felt they were in agreement that my theories were quite plausible but making a statement of certainty is too premature for them at this time. So we wait... with much more research to come. If anything I felt excited at the level of honesty we shared.

My feelings have always been "it is what it is". It's either is a true photograph of Joseph Smith Jr. or it isn't, personally the physical evidence of this image makes me believe it is. The more I research it the more I am convinced. How it all came about is a great mystery and who doesn't love a great mystery.

I will blog later about the evidence that proves once and for all that my image and the Library of Congress image DO NOT come from the RLDS painting. Call it the case of the missing button.