1871 Chicago giant

jd755

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This image has always felt 'off' to me and not because of the hand in jacket 'message' or the Abe lookalike in the top hat or the hand in jacket mans 'Russian' appearance nor because of the 'damage'. It's just felt fake in some way so I found the biggest scan I could, loaded it in Gimp and played around a bit. Here are my findings.

Edit; Forgot to post the image! Here it is.

post_fire_unknown_chicago_1871_2.jpg

Hand in jacket man is an overlay or what I often refer to as 'painted in'. Basically he has been added in post processing as evidenced by the white line around his left shoulder and his cap as revealed by a one step unsharp mask filter.
handman.png


Still with the one step filter in use, the wall to his left is drawn in as evidenced by the lines of the 'blocks'.
wall.png


What looks like brickwork clinging on to the facade of the building and 'sky or white space' to the right. Well the 'sky' is actually a white space overlaid or drawn on. The long 'crack' on the brickwork is also drawn on. I feel the undamaged wall has simply been obscured.
The telegraph pole also has the white line around the cross pieces so it to was likely overlaid in post processing.
sky.png


The 'sign writing' looks like it was an afterthought and the sign is completely free from damage with no visible means of support.
sign.png


This man with a fake looking beard only has three fingers on his left hand and they are drawn in.
hand.png


You can see it much clearer when the image has its colours inverted.
inverthand.png


This mans right leg is considerably longer than his left.
legs.png


This open door is on an interior wall and adjacent to it on either side are the slots where wooden joists once rested which proves there was once a wooden floor there.
opendoor.png


Going down the wall to the next pair of doors and there are no joist slots. Ergo if these doors opened they would open onto open space.
closeddoor.png



Going down again and the joist slots are back where they should be so the bottom pair of undamaged doors would open onto a wooden floor. Except they like the pair above them feel to me like they are drawn in.
closeddoor2.png


With the unsharp filter still in play I raised the contrast by 30% as I felt this mans beard is drawn in as evidenced by the way his chin 'runs into' it.
beard.png


For me there is more than enough evidence even from this relatively poor scan and jpeg compression to call it a fake. It's a mash up done who knows when and for what reason.

And for those with better software than I have I feel certain there is a word on this image and I keep getting a certain word but not going to reveal it yet in case it colours what others see or might find.
writing.png
 
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Timeshifter

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thanks man.

Well, so far, I have to disagree about the man being pasted in. I can see no evidence in my edit as to any distinct outline caused by manipulation. That does not however mean the rest of the image has not been manipulated, my guess is at the very least we are dealing with a 5th generation scan of the original.

I found the best resolution Tiff file I could, from here TIF , however it is still extremely low quality and already compressed to death.

Here's how I did this edit, using Adobe Photoshop CC and using the images own native luminosity (exposure) as a base. This works by only brightening the highlights, or darkening the shadows, this means you can raise or lower the exposure of both, without creating artefacts. I have also used this to only raise the mid-tones without affecting the shadow or highlight exposure.

4 samples.jpg


mine and Jd's for comparison.

comparison.jpg


Under exposed shadows

3a24986u shadows.jpg


Over exposed midtones

3a24986u midtones.jpg


Over exposed highlights

3a24986u added highlights.jpg


Standard inversion

3a24986u invert.jpg

The process I employed using the luminosity process does not show any 'edges' and Jd's does.

As an example, look at any HDR image to see how the process always over processes edges. This is what happens when you don't protect the luminosity of a photograph.

Also, any sharpening of a jpg (already compressed and lacking detail) will create artefacts such as those in Jd's version, as will resizing or cropping.

As for Jd's observations about the buildings etc, have to agree their are some very suspicious things. Along with the other anomalies, the font on the road sign looks wrong, like a bad effort to add in the location, the fonts do not skew, or follow the perspective as you would expect.
 
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jd755

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Cheers.
Have grabbed the tiff and yahay, in one respect as this tiddy laptop and gimp can load it and boohoo as this tiddy laptop and gimp can load it as this means resolution is lacking, as you say.

Take your points on board about the giant however there is something not right about him as his beard is definitely off and his features begin to look like those on the compendium of giants thread of a few days back.

Those doors inverted a definite drawing!
 

Timeshifter

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agree, something with the beard does not appear right. it could be that it is a processing of the original error, some chemicals spilled or not correctly cleaned off, it could be a scanning error, it could be intentional.

It does look odd, like a black strip has been added at some point, but why? what would it matter to have a darker beard? Russian, Propaganda? Hiding things in plain sight?

black beard.jpg
 
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jd755

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agree, something with the beard does not appear right. it could be that it is a processing of the original error, some chemicals spilled or not correctly cleaned off, it could be a scanning error, it could be intentional.

It does look odd, like a black strip has been added at some point, but why? what would it matter to have a darker beard? Russian, Propaganda? Hiding things in plain sight?

Why indeed. Taken in isolation it could be argued someone thinks he is identifiable without a beard so who is he would be the next question or rather who was he but taken with all the other anomalies something is going on.
The poses of the three main figures with one leg bent in each one, their spacing across the image and from front to back are suggestive to me of an attempt to give depth to the image.
The giant obscures the men behind him and he lines up perfectly with the corner of the building running up from his head.
The three different hats is very odd. Leather cap, top hat and a bowler. Equally odd are their coats. Two three quarter coats and one jacket, two coats open one buttoned up to the top. It feels as though this image has been created to distract but from what I have no idea.

One thing as the white line around the giant is an image compression flaw why doesn't it appear round the other figures?
 
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Timeshifter

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One thing as the white line around the giant is an image compression flaw why doesn't it appear round the other figures?
It does if you over process it enough. It will need to be be processed slightly differently because the background exposure/ grading/ detail is different.

overporcessed.jpg

I would love to be able to access the original image.
 
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jd755

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Yes the original for any of the photographs on stolenhistory would be revealing.

Using the LOC tiff.
Top hat guy. Pushed three steps in gimp unsharp mask reveals to me to have his right hand index finger pushing on a small device/button of some kind.
You can also see it in the straight invert.
finger.png
fingerinv.png

Playing with threshold changes now which reduces the colours to two, in this case black and white.
In comes the white line around the giant once again but not round the other figures.
thresh1.png

My money is back on him being pasted in especially when his placement in the image is considered.
 
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Timeshifter

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Again, this is simply down to the exposure and amount of light in the background, which is totally different between the two characters, by that logic, you could argue that the arch in the centre background is pasted in.

Their is simply just not the same amount of back lighting, reflection, background colour/ exposure/ separation between the 2nd man and the background, as their is with the giant, imo.
 
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jd755

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Fair enough. Wouldn't do if we agreed on everything.

Here's another odd cove. Loc tiff straight invert
All of the angles in this image are weird but i've yet to come across any internal opening in a brick built structure where the walls of the opening lean as they do here. The external edges of the wall are vertical the internal edges of the opening lean in parallel with each other so the wall to the right is wider at the top of the opening and narrower at the bottom with the opposite true for the left hand wall. Not giant man related per se but another bit of evidence of a photo mash up. I'll have a dig into the photographer and see what it turns up.

wnky.png
 

KorbenDallas

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We could have a certain new narrative superimposed onto the ruins, and structures of the past.

This bearded guy has pretty modern looking pants.
 

0harris0

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All of the angles in this image are weird but i've yet to come across any internal opening in a brick built structure where the walls of the opening lean as they do here. The external edges of the wall are vertical the internal edges of the opening lean in parallel with each other so the wall to the right is wider at the top of the opening and narrower at the bottom with the opposite true for the left hand wall.
i would say its a shadow that makes it look at a funny angle, in the original image it all looks fine! you can see the internal squared angles where the walls meet
 
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jd755

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Tracking the photographer is hard work, however thanks to startpage I've found out he was Swedish (are there any native born Americans in the early to mid 1800's?) born about 1845. His name was Louis (or Lewis depending on the website) Magnus Malender and he was in and out of photographic businesses in Ilinois and Chicago.
I've discovered a little more but have yet to make sense of it but here's a thought. In one business he was working with his younger brother Silas Malender and given the Swedish origin of these two is it too much of a stretch to say the giant is wearing Swedish style clothing?
 

0harris0

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that wrecked building is so odd though, very confusing construction! anyone know what building it is?
 
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jd755

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All from here. http://nypl.org/

L. M. Melander & Bro.
active 1870s-1920s

L. M. Melander & Bro. was a partnership of Lewis M. and Silas P. Melander. After the elder brother's death in 1900, Silas Melander operated the studio under the same name until his death in 1929.

Roles performed
Photographer
Photographic Publisher

L. M. Melander & Bro. has 3 locations.
Active in (1874-1879)

88 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL USA
Studio or Business (1880-1909)

208 Ohio Street, Chicago, IL USA
Studio or Business (1911-1923)

67 West Ohio Street Chicago, IL USA

L. M. Melander was a partner in Melander & Henderson.
Roles performed

Photographer

Melander & Henderson has 3 locations.
Active in (1870s-1880s)

Aurora, IL USA
Active in (1870s-1880s)

Chicago, IL USA
Studio or Business (1871)

18 Fox Street Aurora, IL USA

Lewis Magnus Melander
American, ca. 1845-1900
Male

Roles performed
Photographer
Photographic Publisher

Processes used
Albumen Silver Prints

Lewis Magnus Melander has 4 locations.
Birth (ca. 1845) Sweden

Studio or Business (1874-1877)
88 North Clark Street Chicago, IL USA

Studio or Business (1880-1900) 208 Ohio Street Chicago, IL USA

Death (October 8, 1900)Unknown


Interesting to read about just how easily and often, people moved from business venture to business venture around the time of the fire.

So off I then goes looking for any evidence of any of the studio's and immediately became embroiled in the fire saga. I cannot find any picture/engraving/drawing/photo of the Chamber of Commerce which burned the first one as in a view that equates to the one named in the op stereograph and nothing comes up which is interesting. Chamber of Commerce

Then from here Photographer: Copelin – THE CABINET CARD GALLERY comes this.

The photographer of both cards is Copelin whose studio was located on the Northwest corner of Madison and State Streets in Chicago, Illinois. The exact address was 75 Madison Street. Some biographical information concerning the Copelin studio is available, but it is very difficult to sort out. It seems that Copelin had a succession of photography businesses. Alexander J. W. Copeland (1851-c1923) and Melander bought out their boss to open a studio in Chicago sometime around 1870. Copelin & Son was established in 1871 and existed about ten years. The business has an interesting story associated with it. The gallery was established just six days before the Chicago Fire (1871) and the building was completely destroyed in the blaze. The building had been the first photographic gallery in Chicago but had housed many proprietors. A.J. Copelin rebuilt the business.

So did Melander have yet another business?
Does sound a bit fishy that gallery opening just six days before the fire. And I wonder were any of the Melander businesses were in the burned district or even that studio building itself, because if they were odds suggest they will have lost all their photographic equipment and studio facilities in the fire.

Magnifying this image Tiled Image | The Great Chicago Fire & The Web of Memory
the Chamber building front entrance seems to be the same as the damaged one between the giant and top hat man but the building alongside seems to bear little if any resemblance to the severely damaged building's facade.

Do take the time to zoom in and see the names and more importantly the business that they were engaging in within these buildings.
Great fire just an insurance scam?
 

0harris0

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magnifying this image Tiled Image | The Great Chicago Fire & The Web of Memory
the Chamber building front entrance seems to be the same as the damaged one between the giant and top hat man but the building alongside seems to bear little if any resemblance to the severely damaged building's facade.
but like you say, it is just the building's facade, easily stick some fancy looking facade to renovate the place :p

think you got the right buildings though... hilarious they're both insurance companies!! (also those "doors" on the side appear to be large, shuttered windows!

i did investigate that random sign... found this page about the same fire with this quote on:

"The property saved from the flames was as follows: .......
......several coal yards along Kingsbury street, which runs along the river side at a distance of about half a block. The coal yard of Blake, Whitehouse & Co., was saved almost entire, a large, cheap frame building in which coal was piled up being alone destroyed"

just weird all round now ahha!

also just out of curiosity ran the address - Kingsbury st. is at least 0.7 miles from the corner of lasalle & washington.. :ROFLMAO:
 

Jetson63

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This image has always felt 'off' to me and not because of the hand in jacket 'message' or the Abe lookalike in the top hat or the hand in jacket mans 'Russian' appearance nor because of the 'damage'. It's just felt fake in some way so I found the biggest scan I could, loaded it in Gimp and played around a bit. Here are my findings.

Edit; Forgot to post the image! Here it is.

View attachment 28738
Hand in jacket man is an overlay or what I often refer to as 'painted in'. Basically he has been added in post processing as evidenced by the white line around his left shoulder and his cap as revealed by a one step unsharp mask filter.
View attachment 28737

Still with the one step filter in use, the wall to his left is drawn in as evidenced by the lines of the 'blocks'.
View attachment 28736

What looks like brickwork clinging on to the facade of the building and 'sky or white space' to the right. Well the 'sky' is actually a white space overlaid or drawn on. The long 'crack' on the brickwork is also drawn on. I feel the undamaged wall has simply been obscured.
The telegraph pole also has the white line around the cross pieces so it to was likely overlaid in post processing.
View attachment 28735

The 'sign writing' looks like it was an afterthought and the sign is completely free from damage with no visible means of support.
View attachment 28734

This man with a fake looking beard only has three fingers on his left hand and they are drawn in.
View attachment 28733

You can see it much clearer when the image has its colours inverted.
View attachment 28732

This mans right leg is considerably longer than his left.
View attachment 28731

This open door is on an interior wall and adjacent to it on either side are the slots where wooden joists once rested which proves there was once a wooden floor there.
View attachment 28729

Going down the wall to the next pair of doors and there are no joist slots. Ergo if these doors opened they would open onto open space.
View attachment 28728


Going down again and the joist slots are back where they should be so the bottom pair of undamaged doors would open onto a wooden floor. Except they like the pair above them feel to me like they are drawn in.
View attachment 28727

With the unsharp filter still in play I raised the contrast by 30% as I felt this mans beard is drawn in as evidenced by the way his chin 'runs into' it.
View attachment 28726

For me there is more than enough evidence even from this relatively poor scan and jpeg compression to call it a fake. It's a mash up done who knows when and for what reason.

And for those with better software than I have I feel certain there is a word on this image and I keep getting a certain word but not going to reveal it yet in case it colours what others see or might find.
View attachment 28730
How about finding the high resolution version of this stereographic image of the same scene and see if all your calculations still apply.

Chicago Fire Giant Stereograph..JPG
 

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