Answered Image of Titanic in Cherbourg at night. Is it real or fake?

Laura J

Laura J

Member
Hi all, I found the image of Titanic leaving Cherbourg all lights ablaze and I wanted to include it in my upcoming book, but looking closer at it I noticed smoke coming out of the fourth funnel. We all know it wasn't connected to the boilers, so I was wondering if the image is real or fake. The image is even on sale in Getty collection as an original. What do you think?
 

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Encyclopedia Titanica

Encyclopedia Titanica

Philip Hind
Staff member
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I wouldn't be surprised if it began as a real photo but because it was so dark an artist set to work on it and hence made a mistake with the fourth funnel, but that is just a guess. If it was then we've never seen the original. Others think it is just a drawing. See this discussion on our Facebook Group
 
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Laura J

Laura J

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Thanks for your kind reply. I added in the book the information given in the topic you suggested
 
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Ioannis Georgiou

Member
Hi all, I found the image of Titanic leaving Cherbourg all lights ablaze and I wanted to include it in my upcoming book, but looking closer at it I noticed smoke coming out of the fourth funnel. We all know it wasn't connected to the boilers, so I was wondering if the image is real or fake. The image is even on sale in Getty collection as an original. What do you think?
The picture was taken at Daylight at Cherbourg and retuouced for the newspapers to show her in the dark.
 
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Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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This is the real photo
Titanic at Cherbourg
 
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Gordon Mooneyhan

Gordon Mooneyhan

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IMHO, based on film speeds in 1912, I believe the image is either fake or very heavily retouched. The other option would be a double exposure where a photo is taken in daylight with a camera on a tripod, and then time is allowed to pass and a second image is taken after dark, to get the lights. Of course, neither of those explains the smoke from the fourth funnel.
 
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Andy A Carter

Andy A Carter

www.andycarter.net
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I would say fake - heavy smoke out the 4th Funnel, to many Lights and no Crows Nest
 
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Laura J

Laura J

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Thanks Jason. It’s interesting because i believed this one to be fake, based on the fact that Titanic was late and reached Cherbourg at 6.35 pm and on that day the sun set at 6.51 pm. This image is exposed like being shot in full light, the sky is too bright for that time of the day, same for the sea. I don’t know, the more I look at these pictures the more i believe they are fake. Could this be the Olympic? I’m not skilled enough to recognize the two ships from such a photo
 
Laura J

Laura J

Member
The picture was taken at Daylight at Cherbourg and retuouced for the newspapers to show her in the dark.
Thanks, as I said to Jason it’s very difficult this photo was taken at daylight, because Titanic reached Cherbourg only 15 minutes before sunset. In April at that latitude it would have been already almost dark and this image is exposed in full light, both the sky and the sea. It was
IMHO, based on film speeds in 1912, I believe the image is either fake or very heavily retouched. The other option would be a double exposure where a photo is taken in daylight with a camera on a tripod, and then time is allowed to pass and a second image is taken after dark, to get the lights. Of course, neither of those explains the smoke from the fourth funnel.
IMHO, based on film speeds in 1912, I believe the image is either fake or very heavily retouched. The other option would be a double exposure where a photo is taken in daylight with a camera on a tripod, and then time is allowed to pass and a second image is taken after dark, to get the lights. Of course, neither of those explains the smoke from the fourth funnel.
I totally agree with you about films in 1912
 
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Bill West

Member
Two counter points to our lighting times:
-official sunset is not darkness, the sky is still illuminated for a period afterwards. This past April Cherbourg's civil twilight, which is when it is too dark for outdoor activities such as sports, occurred about 30 minutes after official sunset.
-French time was about 20 minutes different from Britain but the port recognized British time for its activities. This has been a weakness in analyzing navigation times here, we don't know which time a given reporter used. Are we comparing a ship's report with a French celestial almanac? Which way would that affect us?

So it would take more figuring to find if this shot would have been possible after arrival.

My own experience with photography in ASA 25 days was that a shot like this in twilight was easy with much less than a half second handheld exposure. In 1912 a tripod would have been used which would allow many seconds.

Bill
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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Could this be the Olympic?
No. If you compare this photo of the Olympic to her sister, you will notice two notable differences:

Olympic at sea1


The first giveaway is that Olympic's A deck promenade was completely open as can be seen in the above photo, whereas on Titanic it was half enclosed. Passengers on the Olympic complained about being exposed to the elements so Bruce Ismay proposed that A deck be half enclosed on Titanic, so as to offer some protection. The second difference is the windows on B deck were arranged differently on Titanic. If you look closely at the photo of her that I posted above, you will notice a set of 11 windows below the second funnel. Those did not exist on Olympic.

I hope this helps.
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I also think that it's badly touched-up fake. As has been said, there's no visible Crow's Nest on the foremast and there's the smoke from the passive 4th funnel of course. Also, enlarging the OP picture shows that the 'lit' portholes are very irregular and appear just white and not really luminescent; and there appears to be a row of lights just above the gunwale at the bow. Not sure if those existed.
 
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James Murdoch

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The lit portholes gave it away for me. And of course the fourth funnel. Also the stop at Cherbourg was brief, the light from all the portholes seems a bit bright. Here is a picture I have of it Cherbourg for comparison.

Just off topic, such a beautiful class of liners. Little wonder they have captivated the imagination of so many.
 

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Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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there appears to be a row of lights just above the gunwale at the bow. Not sure if those existed.
No, they didn't. Which is another clue that the photo is a fake.
 
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