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  Photo Analysis of Black People's Church Photo as seen in the book
"Images of America Roslyn" by Jaymi Trimble
Black peoples Church in Roslyn 1958

My first thought on the photographic anomaly was a flag attached to the building and blowing in the wind during a long exposure.  This theory was ruled out. If you look at the blades of grass in the foreground you can see they are stationary, clear and sharp.  Cameras from the 1958 era were well built and the film was sensitive enough not to require long exposures.

My second thought was a light leak in the camera.  Light leaks usually appear in the edge of the frame and bleed one direction onto the photograph.  As I mentioned above, cameras from that time frame were well built and this anomaly doesn't have the typical characteristics of a light leak.

Another interesting feature of the mist is at the bottom of the anomaly.  There appears to be two overlapping arcs of unknown origin.  Enhancing these arcs reveals some depth and shadow areas of both the left and right arcs. 

  Image 1  
Someone standing in the picture area while the camera shutter is open could create these arcs. While holding a flag on a pole and waving it back and forth to create the wavy mist.  However you will note in the example photo below that the arc far exceeds the ďtheoretic flag poleĒ by more than half the distance.  Given the bright sun conditions, indicated by the shadows on the wall from the roofline eves of the building, if someone were to stand there long enough to wave a flag, they would have been exposed on the film by the bright sunlight.  I donít believe this to be a long exposure by moonlight given the brightness of the sky and other bright areas of the photograph.
  Image 2
Example of a theoretical arc from a handheld pole.

While enhancing the anomaly I noticed another interesting feature in the center of the mist.
There appears to be some lines that vaguely resemble those of a fingerprint.
If this were a fingerprint either on the photographic paper or on the negative I donít believe it would have caused the anomaly shown in the photograph, unless there was a chemical involved with the fingerprint that reacted to the development process.  If that were the case, the bottom arcs still canít be explained by this theory.

  image 3  

Without viewing the original photographic negative and examining only the submitted high resolution scan of the photograph with the anomaly I have to say that I donít have an explanation for the anomaly at this time.

Jay DeBoer Technical Director of WSPIR


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