REAL photos of Titanic sinking


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Matt Endacott

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Is there anyone out there that would possibly know of photos taken during the actual sinking of the ship in 1912?
As i am aware, there were several taken as the lusitania sunk, now lost but what about Titanic?
There were many onboard with cameras. Did any survive? Or are they on the bottom of the Atlantic? I find it odd that so many pics were taken during the voyage, and you'd expect if one had a camera during the sinking SOME photos must have been taken, even if they were blurred shots of people in life jackets on the staircase.
Can anyone help?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Matt, nobody left the ship with a camera, or if they did they must have kept strangely quiet about it. It would in any case have been very difficult to take pictures at night, either inside or on deck. Small snapshot cameras using roll film were quite common in 1912, but these could be used only in bright daylight. If there had been any heavy, tripod-mounted studio equipment on board this would have created a considerable obstruction, and the use of flash powder would have temporarily blinded everyone in the immediate vicinity. Not the way to become popular!

Certainly a number of cameras and exposed film plates and rolls must have gone down with the ship, but the gelatin used as a binding agent in photographic emulsions was very nutritious to marine life and has long since disappeared into the food chain along with any images it might once have contained.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Matt,

There was a comprehensive thread on this very same topic a little while back! Perhaps some of the moderators may be able to track it down for you. From memory, you can try locating it in the sinking theories section.

Daniel.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Hi, Mark. It was ok a few days ago. The Blue Star site is still there but seems to have no content at the moment, so maybe it's undergoing maintenance. It's worth checking back, but in the meantime I'll email you one of the pics.
 

Remco Hillen

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Jan 6, 2001
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One a related note, there is a story about a picture being taken during the sinking of Britannic. It is said that it was taken aboard one of the lifeboats, with survivors in the foreground and the sinking ship in the background. It hang in a livingroom in England, until a couple of bombers dropped their load on top of it during the second World War...
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Regards,
Remco
 

Remco Hillen

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Jan 6, 2001
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Hello Daniel,

Yes indeed!
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I've had heard rumours about it before, but that was the first time I read a description of it and heard what happened to it. Just wish they had stated at the beginning of the text that it didn't existed anymore; that would have saved my coffee!
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Regards,
Remco
 

Raymond Leggs

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Apr 3, 2003
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Well actually it could have happened as if they took the roll film cameras and maybe used portible lightsource for the scene and plus you have to consider the lighs on the ship too Remco
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Dec 2, 2000
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Raymond, I'm afraid that the only portable lightsources available that would have worked with the films of the day would have been a magnesium flash. Something like that would scarcely escape notice in the dark of the night. The lights available from the ship wouldn't have been adaquate for the job.
 

Raymond Leggs

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I was refering to the roll film cameras of the day as is they only needed daylight or artificial light to take some what or good pictures so A flashlight could have worked.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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So was I. Sorry to say that the film used then wasn't what it is today. They would need something a lot better then a flashlight to do the job. The kind of attention a flash strong enough for the task would have drawn from irritated seamen trying to do work in an emergency situation at night would not have been pleasant.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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At this point it might be useful to review the possibilities and limitations of the kind of cameras and film available to the Edwardian public. Simple, cheap box cameras and folding pocket models like those made by Kodak had been sold in vast numbers in both Europe and the US, with Kodak's cheapest model, the Box Brownie, selling for one dollar and affordable by just about anyone. There were over a million of this one model alone in use by 1912 and it is likely that at least a few of these are now in or around the wreck of the Titanic.

The cheapest models had no viewfinder (just a couple of painted 'sighting lines') and no controls other than the shutter release and the winder for the film roll, which was generally the 120 size still in use today. These cameras were designed for ease of use by non-professionals and had a fixed shutter speed of about 1/30 second, perfectly adequate for taking pictures of moving people on the deck of a ship (sinking or otherwise) in bright daylight. The film 'speed', however, was hopelessly inadequate for taking pictures at night, even indoors under normal lighting. As Michael has said, the only form of artificial light sufficient to record an image on the film stock of 1912 was that which came from burning magnesium, which was commonly used in studios but was not a portable source for casual use by amateurs.

To sum up, although there was probably no shortage of cameras aboard the Titanic, nobody would have seriously considered even trying to use one on the night of the sinking.
 

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