"On a Sea of Glass" photo


Justin Litke

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Apr 1, 2016
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I had a quick question regarding a photo in "On a Sea of Glass"

On page 24, beneath this photo:

Titanic+in+Gantry.jpg


reads a caption, in part:

The ship's name was written in after the photograph was taken, and inaccurately at that."

Why is it inaccurate?
 

Dave Gittins

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It's just a little too far aft. That's because the person who added it placed it clear of the tower nearby.
 
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Harland Duzen

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The Photographer etched in the Titanic's name when in reality it hadn't been added to the Hull yet.

They did a similar thing with the Olympic in postcards after the disaster where they etched in Titanic's name (like this photo below which was taken of Olympic in Liverpool June 1st 1911)).
postcard.JPG
 
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Dave Gittins

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They did some pretty ambitious things to make a buck in 1912. Here's a real beauty.

Maurepathia postcard.jpg
 
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Dave Gittins

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The size is probably not too far wrong. To this day, a ship's name is usually displayed in quite small print. I usually can't read a ship's name from more than about a mile away, using 7 x 50 binoculars. The only regulation I've found is that the letters must be more than 4" high. I think most are about two to three feet tall. These days, the most obvious thing is often the owner's name, usually on the hull sides in very large print.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Postcard of a German ship passing an iceberg. Possibly photo-shopped to resemble Titanic's fate.



shipiceberg.png



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Dec 4, 2000
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FYI -- what you see isn't always true, even on old-school silver emulsion photos. Back before digital anything...before Photoshop(tm)...'way back then there was a job entitled "photo retoucher." These were skilled artists with steady nerves. They added and subtracted detail as required by the job. The "Titanic" name on the photo in question is a rather second rate effort by comparison to the best of those artists.

They used knives to scrach off the emuslion as well as water soluble dies to add grays and blacks. The work was done on the negative, so the retoucher had to think backwards -- white (clear) on the negative would be black on the print.

The joke was that retouchers got so involved in their work they required an assistant with an oar. The assistant would watch to determine when enough had been done...and swat the retoucher off the stool to get him (or, very often her) to quit.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Harland Duzen

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Regarding Titanic (or Olympic incorrectly used as the former) it's amazing the length people went to alerting their photos (without Photoshop) of her!
 
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Aaron_2016

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On a related note - Anyone know why this shipyard worker was erased from the photograph? Was it done out of superstition? i.e. If the worker had died before the photo was published and they thought it would bring bad luck to keep him in the photo?


propellerman.png



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Harland Duzen

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On a related note - Anyone know why this shipyard worker was erased from the photograph? Was it done out of superstition? i.e. If the worker had died before the photo was published and they thought it would bring bad luck to keep him in the photo?
View attachment 39172
Maybe the photo was meant to showcase the Propeller-shaft and the man was removed to give a less-obstructed view for the reader.
 
Dec 13, 2016
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On a related note - Anyone know why this shipyard worker was erased from the photograph? Was it done out of superstition? i.e. If the worker had died before the photo was published and they thought it would bring bad luck to keep him in the photo?


View attachment 39172


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I always thought that the man may have moved. I don't know much about photography but I'm guessing that long exposure times would leave a ghost effect.
 
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