Question for the experts

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by coloradcowboy, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. coloradcowboy

    coloradcowboy TPF Noob!

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    Can a picture be slightly distorted simply by distance? The reason I ask is I have been researching a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid photo. One of the men in the photo had his picture taken obviously from a distance and another photo taken as a portrait much closer up. The photographer is the same and it was taken probably the same day. You can tell they are the same person, but his facial features seem slightly off from the portrait photo. Any help would be most appreciated and Ill share more on Butch in a few. On the left is the distant shot....on the right portrait. Again, same photographer, same time period. Could it be a different camera? Both photos are glass slides. stanley Gardner.jpg


     
  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Simple answer to your question: yes.

    Distortion isn't the ideal word to use in this case because distortion has another more technical meaning that's different than what you're describing. What you're seeing is a phenomena that involves perspective. In a photograph perspective when the photo is taken is a function of camera/subject distance. When the photo is viewed the viewer to print distance plays a reverse role. Lenses get involved because at a given lens focal length the scene photographed is both cropped and to varying degrees magnified up or down.

    It's possible to do all the math to determine what distance from the subject with what lens will render a matched perspective when a print of X size is viewed from Y distance, but photographers rarely do that and when pushed toward extremes of mismatch from that point of equilibrium the subject can appear unnatural. We have different levels of tolerance for these effects depending on the subject. With human faces we are most sensitive.

    Joe

    P.S. I'm home today canning tomatoes and there's these fairly long breaks: wait till it cools or wait till it's hot. So while I was waiting I shot you an example. I grabbed my camera and my Elvis pez dispenser from my desk and took them to the kitchen. I put Elvis down in front of the tomatoes that just came out of the canner and I took his photo. In the photo on the left I have the camera very close to Elvis -- in his face (about 3 inches) with a short (wide) lens on the camera. Had to move a little to the right to clear the refrigerator as I backed up to the far wall. Second photo I'm a couple yards away and I took Elvis's photo again this time with a long (tele) lens on the camera. I did not move Elvis from his position in front of the tomatoes. The differences you see in the shape of Elvis's face and his spacial relationship to the tomatoes is due to the movement of the camera. The lens change permitted me to crop the two photos about the same size.

    tomato_elvis.jpg
     
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  3. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Faces are complex things and facial expressions can vary from moment to moment.

    Face on left is squinting a bit with head tilted back slightly plus partially open mouth and slightly mussed hair.

    Face on right appears to have been retouched -- cleft chin smoothed over and hairline looks painted and facial lines possibly smoothed.

    Lighting is also very different on the two photos accentuating cheek and other features on left face while flattening them on the right photo.
     
  4. coloradcowboy

    coloradcowboy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys. Good information. Here are two other pictures. The center photos are taken at at the same distance as the first picture shown and are believed to be Butch Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh AKA Sundance kid. The outside left/right photos are portraits of the only two known photos of the outlaws. The lines were used to scale up the photos and can be removed if you would like. Bottom photo is the photograph the image came from butch best copy copy.jpg sun.jpg voor.jpg
     
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  5. Bill The Lurker

    Bill The Lurker TPF Noob!

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    so your theory is that butch and sundance worked on the transcontinental railroad when they were 2 or 3 years old?
     
  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    We get this topic quite often on here. Usually somebody asks "what camera" when what they should have asked is "what lens" on my camera. Usually the conversation will touch upon lens focal length, camera sensor size, angle of view, and distance from lens to subject. Sometimes one of the more experienced professionals will dig up a website that illustrates the differences resulting from using different lenses.

    The example photos you posted have some obvious differences besides what you've already mentioned. Different lighting, different angle of the subject's face, different distances, and most likely different lenses as well. So the facial proportions are not the same for several reasons.
     
  7. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There were a number of US railroads built in the latter part of the 19th century well into the 1890s and beyond.
     
  8. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    To my eye they could be the same guys as the railroad workers.

    BTW, it's my opinion that much of the old west lore about outlaws and such is BS.
     
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  9. Bill The Lurker

    Bill The Lurker TPF Noob!

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    yes but in general that photo is associated with building the transcontinental. according to the brigham young library, which apparently has the negative, they place it around 1900, so it's probably not the transcontinental, i guess. dry plate gelatin so 1900 us credible.

    there's some theory running around that it depicts longabaugh and parker. sure it could but in all liklihood it does not.

    either it does and they were for some reason working on a railroad gang in utah mugging for pictures bang in the middle of their robbery career, or it does not.
     
  10. coloradcowboy

    coloradcowboy TPF Noob!

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    Can you explain what you mean on inverse square jaw?
     
  11. coloradcowboy

    coloradcowboy TPF Noob!

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    Ive gone through all the BYU photos. Im 99.9% sure the date is between Oct. 24-Nov.4 1901
     
  12. Bill The Lurker

    Bill The Lurker TPF Noob!

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    the ears should be sticking out further in the longer-away shots, just as a single point of interest
     

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