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The Futility Of Photographs
By Jordan P. Niednagel
©TrueAuthority.com - 5/03
Once upon a time, when life and times were simpler, a world existed without cameras. In order to portray anything and everything in a form of media, one had to draw, or paint, that depiction. What for us today is a press of the button was for them of yesterday countless hours spent in careful and accurate precision . . . namely, in art. Save for mirrors and the reflection off still water, one could never even see himself. Indeed, times were simpler.
We may well imagine a young man, living in these times, walking through the woods one day. Suddenly, with little notice, he spots something unlike anything he's ever seen before. For a good five minutes, in fact, he watches it, carefully observing its every move. Finally, it leaves, disappearing into the foliage. Heart pounding and adrenaline rushing, the young man quickly runs back to his village. Seeing him arrive in such great haste, the villagers flock around him as he catches his breath and excitedly shares his amazing encounter. What follows, by some, is scorn and derision, the result, say they, of too much wine. Others . . . why, they believe the man, and wonder till the day of their deaths what he could have seen on that day.
Let us imagine the same man, now living in our times. While out in the woods one day, he suddenly spots something unlike anything he's ever seen before. He grabs his Polaroid camera with tremendous excitement, taking one snap shot before it disappears into the foliage. Heart pounding and adrenaline rushing, he quickly runs back to his town, as everyone gathers round and he tells of his encounter. What follows, by some, is scorn and derision, the result, say they, of too much wine. Others . . . why, they believe the man. "But wait," says he, "I have a photograph to prove it." And there, in his photograph, is something . . . something unlike anything they've ever seen before. Still, some doubt, while others believe, and wonder till the day of their deaths what he could have seen on that day.
So it has happened, again and again, since then, and always will happen, again and again, in the future. The result of the former man's efforts were no better than the latter, for some believed, and some didn't, and so continues the endless cycle.
It is time, friends, to realize that photographs are futile.
So It Begins...
Sometime around August of 2001, a photographic world sensation began. Inboxes around the world were receiving a very peculiar email, with the message reading:
AND YOU THINK YOU'RE HAVING A BAD DAY AT WORK !!
Although this looks like a picture taken from a Hollywood movie, it is in fact a real photo, taken near the South African coast during a military exercise by the British Navy.
It has been nominated by National Geographic as "THE photo of the year".
Upon opening the attachment, there before thousands of eyes around the globe was an amazing snapshot of, unbelievably, a great white shark in a breaching attack of a British Navy soldier. The first question on everyone's minds was, "Could it be real?" The shadows looked just right. Water could be seen pouring off the shark while in its breached, mid-air position. Grief, it even looked like the soldier climbed up the opposite side of the ladder in order to avoid it! It must be real!
Well, it wasn't. The photo of the breaching great white shark was taken by South African photographer Charles Maxwell, while the Air Force photo of an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter was taken by Lance Cheung. As you guessed it, the two were spliced together, and that by an unknown individual. (see National Geographic)
Another photograph circulating throughout cryptozoology communities was that of a seemingly shot and killed pterodactyl during during the Civil War. On numerous websites will you still find this picture, and some claim that it has yet to be negated or authenticated.
Truth is, it's a hoax. Not so much a hoax, but a simple promotional tool. The photograph was created and used by Orlando, Florida's Haxan Production to develop interest in their upcoming fictional program, Freaky Links. First broadcasted on Fox TV in 2000, the series involved the character Derek Barnes, an investigator of the unknown. The 22-foot by 11-foot pterodactyl was a prop created for the two episodes, and is now owned by Loren Coleman and is featured in his museum. (see Loren Coleman)
Only a few months ago, TrueAuthority.com received an email. With the email were two photographs, and the sender said something along the lines of, "Took these two pictures using the NessieCam. There appears to be something strange swimming in Loch Ness these days."
Before going any further, a brief comment should be made regarding NessieCam. Being able to watch the lake from both above and below the surface using your personal computer is indeed "cool." It's fun, it's exciting, but nothing will ever come from it. Not only are both cameras somewhat fuzzy, the surface cams are much too distant from the lake. Even if Nessie were to show herself in broad daylight for an hour for all the cameras to behold, nothing more than a moving, disfigured dot would be recorded. In fact, the first heralded photograph was made using a surface cam on June 5th, 1999. What did it show? A dot. Blow it up all you like, clarify it with any program, and you still will come up with nothing but a dot. Let's be fair. You'll come up with nothing but an elongated dot with some sort of reflection. Could it be Nessie? Sure. Lot's of photographs are probably that of an actual plesiosaur. Sad thing is, they're just that . . . photographs . . . and photographs are futile.
Back to the sea snake. The photographs sent in to TrueAuthority.com were actually somewhat clear photographs. To the right they are shown, and as you can see, they appear to depict some type of long, slender creature. The top picture even reveals the creature's eye, while the bottom picture seems to show one or two of the creature's small fins. Fish? Sea snake? Who knows.
The photographs are futile. You can't prove anything by them, and they only lead to further speculation. In fact, when first reviewed, the top photo looks strikingly similar to an arm and hand, as if someone stuck their arm in the air in the dark, turned on a flashlight, and took a picture. While we don't think this is the case, any skeptic would gladly say so, and thus it is all an exercise in futility.
Shark or no shark, pterodactyl or no pterodactyl, Nessie or no Nessie, sea snake or no sea snake . . . it all boils down to one realization that we all cryptozoology lovers must come to. Photographs are futile. No matter how clear, how close, or how real one may possibly seem, folks will still doubt, and nothing is proven, and thus nothing is accomplish. Tangible evidence is all that matters.
Video footage. What about video footage? In short, it's tough to say. Video editing is quickly becoming as easy as photographic editing. In truth, if someone were to videotape an animal in broad daylight and up-close using a home camera, with the creature moving about in a clear, natural way . . . perhaps. Such has been done, however, of a lake monster in Lake Van, Turkey, and the video footage can be found here. Nothing was proven, and nothing was authenticated, and so it must be said that, sadly, even video footage is altogether futile.
And so the search continues for new and unidentified creatures. Toss the cameras aside and friend, grab the harpoon or cage, cause it's the only way this world full of skeptics will ever come to believe.
Available online at www.trueauthority.com/cryptozoology/futility.htm