TRANSCRIPT OF AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. BRIAN MEE
CONCERNING THE FAMOUS BACKYARD RIFLE PHOTOGRAPHS
On Tuesday, 16 August, 1994, I met with Mr. Brian Mee in my home
for the better part of three hours to discuss the famous backyard
rifle photos, which seem to show Oswald wearing a pistol belt
and holding a rifle in one hand and some radical newspapers
in the other hand. There are three backyard photographs
currently in evidence. They are labeled CE 133-A, B, and C.
Each shows the Oswald figure in a different pose. Although the
Dallas police said they found two negatives, one for A and one
for B, only the B negative is known to exist. An important
backyard snapshot was discovered in the late 1970s when the House
Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was conducting its
investigation. This photo, known as 133-A, DeMohrenschildt, is
much clearer than 133-A and was printed full negative.
Prior to our interview, I supplied Mr. Mee with a 22-page extract
from the file PHOTOS.ZIP, which at the time was available on
CompuServe's JFK Assassination Forum. This file contains the
HSCA testimony of two members of the Committee's photographic
panel, Calvin S. McCamy and Cecil W. Kirk, who testified in
defense of the backyard pictures. I also supplied Mr. Mee with
sections on the photos from two books that dispute their
Our meeting ran about 2 hours and 55 minutes, give or take a
few minutes. I recorded all but about 15 minutes of it on
audio cassettes. I had obtained two 60-minute tapes and one 30-
minute tape for the interview, never thinking that it would go
beyond two and a half hours. Three or four of those non-recorded
minutes resulted from the "Pause" button on the recorder not
being released after the audio tape had been paused while we
viewed a video segment. (At other times, however, the tape was
left running while we watched a video segment.) The remaining
unrecorded minutes occurred toward the end of our meeting, when I
ran out of cassette tape. When this happened, I took careful
I should make it clear at the outset that we did not examine
copies directly from the National Archives. Of course, we did
not study the original photos and the 133-B negative either.
Just about the first thing Mr. Mee asked me when he came through
the door was if I had access to the originals, and if I had my
own copies from the National Archives. Mr. Mee stated that in
some cases he would be unable to provide a firm judgment due to
the nature of the copies we had available to examine.
I will say, though, that in his video White uses copies of good-
quality reproductions of the backyard photos that he obtained
from the National Archives. I used the freeze-frame function on
my VCR and also made several long video segments of the photos
from Jack White's video. We viewed these on my 19-inch color TV,
which has a very high-quality picture. Additionally, I made
available to Mr. Mee an enlarged copy of 133-A from a fairly good
reproduction in Matthew Smith's book JFK: THE SECOND PLOT. Our
other source for copies of the backyard photographs was Robert
Groden's book THE KILLING OF A PRESIDENT. Mr. Mee felt that in
several cases the copies I was able to show him enabled him to
reach firm conclusions. On the other hand, as mentioned above,
he also made it clear that he could not provide a firm opinion on
certain issues due to the nature of these copies and to his not
being able to view the original materials.
For the sake of convenience and organization, I placed subject
headings in the 22-page extract that I provided to Mr. Mee.
All testimony from PHOTOS.ZIP pertaining to these subjects
was included. The headings were as follows: "On Using Frame Edge
Markings and Scratches for Authentication"; "Frame Edge Markings
on 133-A (DeM) and the 133-B Negative"; "Imperial Reflex
Scratches on the Backyard Photos"; "Photogrammetry and the
Backyard Photos"; "Lines in the Chin Area?"; "The Shape of the
Chin"; "Varying Exposure Analysis and Faked Shadows"; "Digital
Image Processing"; "Nose Shadow vs. Body and Rifle Shadows";
"Duplicating the Nose Shadow?"; "Change of Expression?";
"Backyard Measurements and Stereo Pairs"; "Answering Jack White";
"General Comments"; "McCamy on the Possibility of Fakery."
Mr. Mee stated that the opinions he expressed were his own, and
that he was not speaking on behalf of any government agency.
The reader will notice that during the interview I read several
lengthy sections from Kirk and McCamy's testimony. I explained
to Mr. Mee before we went on tape that I would be reading
extensively from the extract in order to provide those who
would read this transcript with the necessary context and
There is one issue about which I would like to further consult
with Mr. Mee, and that is his theory of how the backyard photos
could have been faked. In explaining his theory, he drew
diagrams and referred to them throughout his explanation. This
was the only point in our interview when I wished I had video
taped it as well as audio taped it. The reader might find it
somewhat hard to follow Mr. Mee's explanation without being able
to see the diagrams to which he was referring. I should say,
however, that I think one can still get the general idea of what
Mr. Mee was saying on this subject.
Following my interview with Mr. Mee, I spoke with other
professional photographers and photo lab technicians, as well as
with serious, experienced amateur photographers. They did not
know that the questions they were answering were related to the
Kennedy assassination. I posed my questions in relation to a
hypothetical photo of a doll in someone's yard. When it came to
the issue of water spots and the nearly straight line that
runs across Oswald's chin, I simply asked what the chances
were that the edge of a water spot would form a nearly straight
line. Some of the people with whom I consulted included the
* Mr. Konrad Mandl, a professional photographer and photo
lab technician, and a certified member of the British Institute
of Professional Photography.
* Miss Davette Johnson, a professional photographer and photo
lab technician, and a computer graphics technician.
* Mr. Jerry Finzi, professional photographer
* Mr. Mark Loundy, professional photographer.
* Mr. Arthur Kramer, a professional photographer who has taught
photography at the collegiate level. In addition, Mr. Kramer
wrote a column for MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY magazine for 20 years
called "The View from Kramer."
* Mr. Steven Newbould, a photo lab technician at the Harrogate
Photographic Laboratories, Harrogate, England.
All of the professionals and serious amateurs with whom I spoke
corroborated Mr. Mee's views on the issues about which I asked
For example, Mr. Mee expressed considerable skepticism about the
photographic panel's claim that the irregular line across the
chin was actually the edge of a water spot. This line, as it
appears in Jack White's video, is nearly straight, and Mr. Mee
said this was one of the reasons that he doubted the panel's
assertion. Miss Johnson told me that in all her years in
photography she had never seen the edge of a water spot form a
nearly straight line. Mr. Mandl said it would be unusual for the
edge of a water spot to form a nearly straight line. Similarly,
Mr. Kramer stated that such an occurrence would be "unlikely."
Mr. Mee disputed the photographic panel's claim that a vanishing
point analysis could explain the conflicting shadows in the
backyard photos. I did not discuss this subject with Miss
Johnson or Mr. Mandl, but I did question my other photographic
sources on the issue, and their responses were quite revealing.
I asked them if a vanishing point analysis could explain why the
facial and body shadows on my hypothetical doll did not fall in
the same direction. I asked them to assume that the facial
shadows fell straight down, but that the body shadows fell off in
approximately a ten o'clock position (which is what we see in the
backyard snapshots). Every single one of them insisted that the
described shadow variations were not possible without two
different light sources, and none of them expressed the view
that the variant shadows could be explained by a vanishing point
Mr. Mee said that the film grain patterns in the backyard photos
could have been matched if the forger knew what he was doing and
took care to match the film speed. Mr. Mandl agreed that a
skillful forger could match film grain patterns in a composite
picture. Mr. Newbould said he believed that grain patterns could
be matched in a fake photo, but he added that he wanted more
information before commenting further on my question. Mr. Mandl
and Mr. Newbould were the only two persons that I asked to
comment on this topic.
Mr. Mee's Qualifications
Mr. Mee is a professional photographer and photo lab technician.
He has worked in photography for 18 years. He has worked as
photographer and photo lab technician for the U.S. Government for
the last ten years. Among other things, Mr. Mee has studied and
had on-the-job training in negative retouching, print
development, shadows, and negative analysis.
In addition, he has had technical courses in color print
development and color negative development at the Winona School
of Photography, which is affiliated with the Professional
Photographers of America School. He has also had courses in
automatic printing and in using computer video analyzers at the
KODAK School of Photography in Rochester, New York.
Mr. Mee asked me to make it clear that the views he expressed
were his own, and that he was not speaking on behalf of any
Transcript of Interview
[Mr. Mee and MTG watch a segment on the DeMohrenschildt photo
from Jack White's video FAKE: THE FORGED PHOTO THAT FRAMED LEE
HARVEY OSWALD. The segment is about the DeMohrenschildt photo
and how its superior detail and clarity indicate that it was
taken with a different, better camera.]
MTG. All right, the thing about the DeMohrenschildt photo not
being a copy of 133-A because it has much better detail and a
larger background. Does that make sense?
MR. MEE. It wouldn't be a copy of 133-A if it had more detail
because, if anything, the reverse would be true, since you always
lose, you never gain, when you copy something. You lose detail,
definition, and contrast is built up. You start to lose your
gray tones, which hold most of your detail, and it starts to go
into shadow or [tape unclear]. So, it wouldn't be a copy.
The DeMohrenschildt photo would not be a copy of 133-A.
MTG. Could it have been printed off of the negative of 133-A,
even though it has better contrast and everything? I mean, Jack
White seems to think that because the DeMohrenschildt photo
has such better quality, that it must have been made with a
better camera. Is it logical to assume that it was taken with
a better camera?
MR. MEE. There are two possibilities that come to mind. That is
one of them--that it was done with a better camera. The other
one is that it was an earlier copy of the negative and that 133-A
is a second- or third-generation copy. To say that the
DeMohrenschildt photo was done with a better quality camera is
possible, and, it is likely, in this situation, the more probable
of the two choices.
MTG. Let me just see how we're sounding so far.
[Audio tape is stopped, rewound some, and then played back to
check sound quality. Mr. Mee and MTG then watch Jack White video
segment on how the frame edge markings and scratches could have
MTG. Your comments on that?
MR. MEE. One comment is on the theory that you an oval cutout
area was filled in with a figure. Cutting an oval out and then
inserting a body and then a head--I think that would be just too
difficult to accomplish without leaving tell-tale signs. You're
allowing too many areas where your tampering can be detected.
You're multiplying your suspected area by a whole bunch, as
opposed to just putting the head on and [tape unclear]. That
would be a little bit easier to do. That could be done. But
when you have to retouch such a large area, I think that would be
picked up. It would leave too many tell-tale signs. I wouldn't
really agree with that.
MTG. So, then, the first way that White suggested, of making an
exposure with just the edge markings on it, and then combining
this with the composite photo. . . .
MR. MEE. Yes, that could be done. It's feasible to do something
like that. The process of the sandwiching, though, might be a
little difficult to hide. This is not to say that it couldn't
be done, but then you'd be dealing with another negative and
probably with different characteristics.
But, the idea that a negative was shot that just had the edge
markings on it, and only the edge markings--something like that
would be difficult to achieve.
If you took the film and wound it across the IR camera without
making an exposure, and then developed that negative, you'd have
a clear type of, well, what we call an overlay, which you could
combine with a picture, instead of actually shooting any type of
picture through the IR camera. You see, otherwise, as soon as
you--even with the cap on--as soon as you open that up, you're
still going to get some type of traces of a different negative.
Now you could sandwich them together, and, again, we're talking
about making a print, and then working with that print and then
copying it. So that's a possibility. Something along those
lines. I wouldn't go so far as to say that's how they did it,
but it could have been done in this fashion.
MTG. So they, possibly, took some film, dragged it across the
film plane aperture, but did not snap a picture? Then, they
took the film out and that would have given them an overlay?
MR. MEE. Yes, that would give you an acetate overlay, a clear
film. Once you develop it, since it hasn't been struck by
light, it will come out clear. So then, you could place your
composite onto the acetate overlay and make a print and then copy
the print with a different camera. It would be possible to do
MTG. So what would. . . .
MR. MEE. But there's one thing: Keep in mind that if you
copied the print with the IR, you would have multiple streaks and
edge marks. And you would probably have a shadowing type of
effect, or a ghosting type of effect, where you'd get one and
then another one close by. Even if they had tried to drag the
film through the camera again exactly as they had done before, I
think you would still be able to pick up slight variations in the
marks with a microscope.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on the fact
that the photographic panel omitted the nose, earlobe, and chin
measurements in the backyard photos from its Penrose study.]
MR. MEE. Just pretty much what I said last time. You don't do
that kind of a study and then leave out relevant measurements.
I'm surprised that the chin measurement wasn't considered. The
guys on that panel knew that the chin in these pictures was a
disputed area, according to the other articles that you gave me.
MTG. Oh, yes. They knew. The chin had been disputed for a long
time before that.
MR. MEE. Uh-huh. Well, that just makes it harder to understand
how they could have left it out when they did their calculations.
MTG. Could they have done this because the chin, and the other
things, threw off the total measurements too much?
MR. MEE. Let me put it this way: I don't know why they would
have left out ANY measurements, especially the chin, of all
[Mr. Mee and MTG then view Jack White video segment on the
idea that the DeMohrenschildt photo was somehow produced without
the IR camera negative, and that the backyard photos could have
been made prior to being made with the IR camera.]
MTG. Any comments on that?
MR. MEE. It's quite possible.
MTG. So the DeMohrenschildt picture indicates that the backyard
photos could have been made before they were made with the IR
camera and that a better camera was used? I mean. . . .
MR. MEE. I think I know what you're getting at. When you
start talking about high-quality cameras, you're talking about
the lens not as much as the camera, and you would use a high-
quality lens to copy things, because you want to try to reduce
the aberrations and the contrasts, and all the things that go
with an inferior-quality lens when you're copying. You're
already losing something. You don't want to lose anything else.
So you use the best type of lens that you can get. So, that's
consistent with what would be normal practice if you had a
picture that was being worked on. You would copy that picture
with a more expensive camera, to preserve as much of the quality
And, with the edge markings, you're talking about more of an
original type of negative, or rather an original type of a print
from a full negative. That's not to say that would be
the original print, or the original negative. You could take
a print and copy it, and you would still get the edge markings,
but it would be printed full negative, as in the case of the
DeMohrenschildt photo. That would be the only difference,
whereas with the other pictures you might not be seeing the
During that time [the 1960s], they would do a certain amount of
cropping on the edges. This is done quite often with automatic
printers. You'll look at the picture and say, "Wait a second.
Why is this person's hand cut off, when I can see it on the
negative?" So that's pretty customary.
MTG. How much of the picture on the negative would one usually
expect to be cropped? I mean, like, if you were going to give a
percentage, would you say it would be cropped 20 percent? Ten
MR. MEE. Well, you can't really say, because it depends on the
format. It depends on a lot of factors. It depends on the
machine you're using. It depends on the enlarger you're using,
and the operator who's using it. It gets back to format. For
example, say you've got a 35mm negative. To get a 35mm print,
full negative--for instance in a 7 X 10. . . . [pauses] But most
people don't have 7 X 10 frames; they have 8 X 10 frames. So,
what has to happen is that it has to be blown up so that the 7
goes to an 8, but then you have to cut off the edges. In that
situation, you would cut off about 20 percent of the picture. So
that's one example of how cropping can come into play. There are
a lot of variables. It's hard to say.
MTG. Okay. So now. . . .
MR. MEE. I would say that normally, when you're copying a
picture, you'll want to crop in enough to where you can't see the
edging. Your attempt is to try to get in as much of the original
picture as possible, if you're trying to get the fullest picture
possible without the edging.
To get in as much as possible, you'd cut it really close. You'd
want to crop it enough so that you couldn't see whatever was on
the edges. You wouldn't want to be able to see the edging of the
picture which has a texture and has fibers in it.
MTG. Before we move on to other areas, am I right in saying
that it is your position that the presence of the frame edge
markings and the scratches alone is not absolute proof of the
backyard photos' authenticity?
MR. MEE. Right. I'm not convinced that those markings prove
that the photos weren't doctored.
MTG. Okay. The next area, then.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on Oswald's
expression in the backyard photos. White's view is that the
person in the picture could not have gone from the smile
to the frown without noticeably moving surrounding facial
MTG. Any comments on that?
MR. MEE. Well, I don't think that's a significant piece of
evidence. Every person is different. The degree that you're
smiling or frowning can be ever so subtle. The facial muscles
don't have to change that much. They [the other muscles]
wouldn't necessarily be noticed in these photographs.
Granted, if he had a big grin, it would change a lot of different
things. It would change smile lines, the way the light hits him,
what kinds of shadows would be created. Or, if he had a big
frown. The difference in expression in those two photographs
appears to be ever so slight, but it's hard to tell without
looking at enlargements of the originals. It's possible that the
frown or the smile was retouched. Both could have been
MTG. The HSCA photographic panel said that the different
expressions--the smile and the frown--showed that this was not
the same head pasted onto separate photographs.
MR. MEE. Right. Well, it's possible that the mouth was
retouched. The heads in the photos could be the same head. But,
I don't think that that argument alone is a strong argument for
saying that the same head appears in all the photos. There are
other things that are more compelling as evidence that the same
head was used. The mouth could have been retouched.
Or, there could have been more than one photograph taken of his
[Oswald's] head, and then those pictures could have been used in
the photos. You could use two heads just as easily as you could
use one. But that wouldn't change the problems with the lighting
characteristics, the shadows. If two photos of the head were
used, they were photographed in one setting, and with the head in
the same position in each picture.
MTG. Right. Oh, by the way, it's interesting that Kirk and
McCamy criticized Jack White's use of overlays, but in order to
detect the smile and the frown they themselves used overlays.
MR. MEE. Yeah. [Mr. Mee smiles noticeably as he says this.]
MTG. Okay, let's see. Where's my copy of the extract? Oh, yes.
I'd like to ask you about the two other things that were
mentioned as evidence that the same head was not used, namely the
differences in the eyes and the puffing of the lower lip in the
frown. The argument is that this is more evidence that the
heads aren't all the same.
MR. MEE. Well, you could make that argument. I'm not ruling out
the possibility that two heads were used. The differences in the
eyes would indicate that more than one photo of the head was
used. But, from looking at these photographs here, it's hard for
me to tell. [Mr. Mee points to the mouth and the eyes, and then
pauses to examine the photos.]
Could we look at that segment again? What I want to see is that
part that shows the head enlarged.
[The portion of the video segment showing the head enlargements
is replayed twice. Mr. Mee then looks at the book copies of the
MR. MEE. I can see a slight difference in the eyes. But, you
can't say that these things couldn't have been retouched either.
I really wish. . . .
MTG. Including the. . . . Oh, I'm sorry.
MR. MEE. No, go ahead.
MTG. Including the eyes? The eyes could have been retouched?
MR. MEE. The eyes could have been retouched. But, on the other
hand, when you're looking at a negative, and you're trying to
determine which photo goes with which negative, one of the things
you look for is the subtlety of the smile, because it can change,
ever so slightly. So, it's possible that more than one
photograph of Oswald's head was used.
It's hard to tell from the pictures I'm looking at here. If I
had the originals, I could make a better determination. After
looking at the enlargements on the video, and at all these
copies [of the photos] again, my guess would be that two pictures
of the head were used, and that the head was photographed at
around noon. But, when the one head was put on at a tilt, the
nose and eye shadows were overlooked. That [the idea that two
head pictures were used] would be the more logical assumption.
But, again, this isn't to say that the mouth and eyes couldn't
have been retouched enough to create these differences. I'd
really have to look at the originals.
MTG. Okay. McCamy also brought up the fact that the lower
lip. . . .
MTG. Okay. We got cut off there. I was going to ask you about
the puffing out of the lower lip.
MR. MEE. Yes. That really doesn't say a whole lot in terms of
whether or not there's been retouching or if more than one photo
of the head was used.
MTG. Okay. I've got another segment I'd like to show you.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on the stance
of the figure in the backyard photos.]
MTG. Okay. The problem with the center of weight and also with
the stance when the figure is reversed--any comments?
MR. MEE. Well, I'm not sure exactly what Mr. White's trying to
say by pointing this out. Granted, the figure is standing there
in an awkward position, regardless of the head. The head here
doesn't seem to have any bearing on how this person is standing.
Maybe that's what he's trying to point out.
But the nature of photography is that you're catching the subject
in an instant. And to say that people stand or walk around all
the time in complete balance is not feasible. We see people off
balance in photographs all the time. He [the figure in the
backyard photos] could have been shifting his weight, or starting
to walk, or taking a step backwards. There are a lot of
different things that he could have done to make his stance look
odd. It does look odd, mind you. Certainly it does look odd.
But I don't know that you can say that the stance is not natural.
MTG. What about the claim that the figure's center of gravity
lies outside his weight-bearing foot? If this is actually the
case, what would that mean?
MR. MEE. Well, to me it is a moot point. People don't always
stand perfectly balanced. You see this all the time. I don't
know exactly what the suggestion is here. If it's that the body
was retouched in some way, I'd have a problem with that. I don't
know why, if someone went to such lengths to fake these
photographs--I don't know why they would need to retouch the legs
or the upper body.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on the conflicting
MR. MEE. Can we watch that segment again?
[Video segment is shown several times.]
MR. MEE. Well, something is definitely wrong with the body
shadows. I don't see quite the difference that Mr. White does,
but I do see a difference. I don't know that I would say that
one body shadow is right at ten o'clock and that the other one is
right at twelve o'clock.
MTG. Well, I think he's phrasing the differences in terms
of approximations. In other words, he's not saying that one's in
a perfect ten o'clock position and that the other's right at a
twelve o'clock position. Let's watch the segment again.
MR. MEE. Okay.
[Video segment is reviewed again.]
MTG. You see what I mean?
MR. MEE. Right. Okay. And, as I said, I can see that there's a
difference in the body shadows. They seem to have been made
at different times of the day.
Now, if I you wanted to make every possible allowance for body
movement or camera movement, or both, I could see how you could
perhaps say that the time difference between these pictures was a
matter of minutes, several minutes, as far as when the body
shadows were made. I could see how you could reach this
MR. MEE. Now, the shadows cast by the head and the neck in
133-A--they look odd to me.
MTG. How so?
MR. MEE. Well, the shadow of the neck looks too narrow. And the
head--I don't know if its shadow should angle off that much, when
it doesn't do that in B or C. The shadow cast by the neck is
thicker in B and C too. These could be real shadows, mind you,
but they do look a little off to me.
MR. MEE. It's hard to say, though. It would really help if I
could look at the originals. Again, they could be real shadows.
I'm just saying that looking at them here, they do seem a little
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on the fact that
in 133-C the body shadow runs up onto the fence, whereas the
body shadows in A and B don't.]
MR. MEE. Well, to say that these photographs were taken within
seconds of each other, I think, is impossible. There's just too
much variance in the directions in the body shadows. They [the
body shadows] have definitely changed positions.
Now, about that C photograph--and, again, this is without looking
at the original--but what could cause that [the shadow running up
onto the fence] would be if the figure were a little farther
back. You've got to consider any lean, too. The weight shift
here [in 133-C], so that he's leaning back more, could cause
the shadow to go up onto the fence. It wouldn't take that much
of a shift or lean to make it go up onto the fence. I don't
think that's an unreasonable amount. I mean, you can see this
for yourself by standing in front of a bright light. You can see
how much you can change the length of your shadow just by leaning
a little bit.
MTG. Okay. So the body shadow on the fence, that is, the head
going up onto the fence, could be due to a slight shift or lean?
MR. MEE. Right. And, by the way, I think the suggestion that
two different people were used, wearing the same clothes, is
really unlikely. I don't think they would have used two
different bodies, especially ones that were different heights.
MTG. Right. That makes sense.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on the blurriness
of the right-hand fingers in 133-A.]
MTG. Okay. On the blurriness of the fingers on his right hand.
MR. MEE. Well, yeah, that's the way it appears. But that could
have been caused by a couple different things. He could have
been moving that hand. Or, light might have been reflecting off
the newspaper and into the shadow areas of the hand, which would
take away some of the detail around the fingers. If his hand
were slightly angled, just ever so slightly, and with the
reflection from the newspaper, that would make the fingers look
stubby too. Those are more likely possibilities. I don't know
why a retouch artist would have tampered with anything in that
MTG. Yeah, you'd think they would have had the guy just hold the
newspapers, and so they wouldn't have to do any retouching there.
MR. MEE. Right.
MTG. Okay. Now, in this next segment. . . . Well, let's take
a look at it.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on White's finding
that when he enlarged the figure in 133-A to match Oswald's
height of 5 feet 9 inches, the length of the rifle was too long,
and that when be brought the rifles to the same size, to match
the alleged murder weapon's official size of 40.2 inches, the
figure appeared to be six inches too short.]
MTG. Okay. What are your thoughts on this?
MR. MEE. The person's height could be different, and that would
be another indication of fraud in these photos. I don't know
why they would have used a stand-in who was so much shorter than
Oswald, though. You'd think they would have gotten someone who
was about Oswald's height.
MTG. Along that line, one of the Oswald impersonators was
said by two or three witnesses to be quite a bit shorter than
MR. MEE. Huh. That's interesting. Well, I'd have to examine
Mr. White's methodology more closely before I reached any
conclusions here, though. When you're doing these kinds of
comparisons, you've got to figure in other factors, like
whether or not there was any tilting of the camera, how the
person was standing, the relationship to other objects in the
picture, that sort of thing. But. . . .
MTG. Does the figure look like it's leaning or tilted very much?
MR. MEE. Well, I was just about to say that the figure doesn't
look like he's leaning to the point that it would be that hard to
determine the height. He appears to be standing pretty much
straight up. Now, you don't know exactly how the camera was
being held, but I wouldn't guess that it was held way off
balance, to look at these pictures.
[Phone rings. Tape recorder is placed on pause. After MTG
hangs up the phone, the interview is resumed but the recorder is
accidentally left on pause. After about a minute, MTG realizes
that tape recorder is still on pause.]
MTG. Okay. We had a little snafu there. Let me ask you
this again. What is your opinion of Jack White's work overall?
MR. MEE. Well, overall, I'd say it's pretty good. I don't agree
with some of it. I think he's reading too much into certain
things. But, in general, I think he's on the right track. I
mean, from everything I've seen so far, from all the copies and
everything that I've looked at so far, I would say he's made some
MTG. Well, you know that British photographic expert mentioned
in the video, Jeffrey Crowley, looked at White's work and was
quite impressed with it.
MR. MEE. Uh-huh. Yeah, I remember that. I mean, the guy [Jack
White] does make some mistakes, but overall he makes a pretty
MTG. Okay. Fair enough.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view the Jack White video segment on the
conflict between the backyard figure's chin and Oswald's chin,
and on the line that goes from one side of the neck, across the
chin, to the other side of the neck.]
MTG. Okay. I think I'll bracket the issue of the shape of the
chin. I've got a lot of pictures of Oswald, going clear back
into his junior high or high school days, and they all show him
with a sharp, cleft chin. I know in his testimony, McCamy said
he found some pictures of Oswald as a youth in which his chin was
a little broader and slightly flat. Even Congressman Fithian
wasn't convinced, and I haven't found that to be the case at all
in the photos that I have of Oswald as a youth. This isn't the
issue anyway, since the backyard photos supposedly show Oswald
as an adult. And all the photos of Oswald as an adult show
him with a sharp, cleft chin. I'd like to return to the
issue of the chin later when we discuss McCamy's claim that
the edge of the chin disappears in shadow.
MR. MEE. Okay.
MTG. I'd also like to hold off on discussing the line across
the chin until we review McCamy's argument that it was caused
by a water spot. All right?
MR. MEE. That's fine.
MTG. I just wanted to show you that segment to provide some
background for when we get to those issues in a few minutes.
MR. MEE. All right.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on the conflicts
between the nose shadow and the neck and body shadows, and
on the non-movement of the nose shadow even when the head is
MR. MEE. Well, I think this is the area where you get into the
most convincing evidence that these photographs have been
doctored--the lighting characteristics. You can see in these
photographs that the nose and eye shadows do not match the neck
shadow. They don't match the shadow that falls down from the
body either. They don't match. We only have one sun, and that's
the problem. Even if we had two suns, their light still could
not produce the differences in the shadows in the backyard
photos. And I think that all the things that that panel [the
photographic panel] cited to substantiate these photos aren't
nearly as important as the shadow characteristics.
MTG. I was going to ask you about that later, but as long
as we're on the subject. . . . Now, McCamy, instead of dealing
with the problems in the shadows themselves, appealed to a
vanishing point analysis. He never actually got around to
explaining why the nose and eye shadows drop straight down,
while, on the other hand, you have a big patch of light on the
left side of the neck; and why you have the body shadows in A and
C falling at about a ten o'clock position. Instead of dealing
head-on with those problems, he appealed to a vanishing point
analysis. We'll get into this more later, but for right now I'd
like to ask you if you think that an analysis of that kind can
overrule what you're able to see in the photos themselves as far
as the contrasting shadows?
MR. MEE. No, not at all. The shadows themselves, the different
angles that they show, their shape, the areas that they should
cover but don't--these have got to be dealt with directly. No
form of analysis is going to convince me that those shadows are
not different shadow groups.
MTG. Okay. Now. . . .
MR. MEE. Let me give you a little background on why I say this.
There are a lot of ways to alter shadows in photography. But in
this situation, where the figure was outdoors, during the day,
and where there was only one light source, there is just no way
that all the shadows in these photos could have occurred at the
same time of day.
Now, it could be argued that the reason there is more light on
the neck in 133-A is that you're getting a reflection off the
newspaper, but in B and C the newspaper is out to the side,
and. . . .
MTG. The patch of light is still there. . . .
MR. MEE. It's still there. It's still consistent. And that
shouldn't be. Most of the neck on both sides should be in
shadow, to be consistent with the eye and nose shadows.
And the nose shadow should not stay in that V-shape, coming
straight down onto the upper lip, when the head is tilted. Now,
with the tilt of the head here, you wouldn't see a big difference
in the nose shadow, but you would see some difference. The shape
and the angle would change. It [the nose shadow] shouldn't look
like that with the head tilted.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on two unnatural
bulges in the backyard photos, one in the neck in 133-A and the
other in the post in 133-B, and on the fact that these bulges are
parallel to each other.]
MR. MEE. Can we see that again?
[Video segment is replayed several times.]
MTG. On the bulges. Any comments on the bulges and on the fact
that they're parallel to each other? Could it be that a
retoucher might have goofed on the neck, spotted it, and then
decided to move the goof to the post in the hope that if he
moved it to a background image it would be less noticeable?
MR. MEE. Even good retouchers sometimes make small errors. I
can see the bulges. I can see what he's [Mr. White's] talking
about here. This goes along with the theory that these are
composite photographs and that they would have required
MTG. Now, in the photographic panel's report. . . . Well, the
panel apparently had a hard time explaining the bulge in the
post. The theory that the panel put in writing was that the
indentation was an optical illusion caused by the shadow of a
twig. . . .
MTG. Okay. Let's go over that again. I'm going to read
the explanation given by the photographic panel:
What could be perceived as an indentation in the
post in CE 133-B is believed by the undersigned to
be an illusion resulting from the location of a
shadow of a branch or a leaf along the edge of the
Okay, and you said you have a problem with that.
MR. MEE. Well, the problem I have with that, keeping in mind
the angle of the body shadows and others, is that a branch or a
leaf here would have been struck by sun coming from around a four
o'clock position. Therefore, a branch or leaf shadow here would
fall in about a ten or eleven o'clock position, and so I don't
think the bulge here could have resulted from a natural shadow.
With the sun coming in from a four o'clock angle, I don't see how
that bulge could have been caused by the shadow from a branch or
a leaf. The angle's not right. Can we look at the part about
this in the video again?
[Video segment is replayed. Afterwards, Mr. Mee then examines
the book and xeroxed copies of the photos again.]
MR. MEE. No, I don't see how that bulge could have been caused
by a shadow from a branch or a leaf. I don't see it. The shadow
angle would be wrong. The sun's in the wrong position to do
that. I'd like to see the originals, though. For a small detail
like this, you want to look at the original photos. But from
what I can see here, I really don't think this bulge was caused
by any kind of a branch or a leaf shadow--not with the sun
shining the way it is in these pictures.
What about the bulge in the neck? How do they explain it? I
didn't see that discussed anywhere in the extract.
MTG. No, Kirk and McCamy didn't deal with that. There's nothing
about it in that file [PHOTOS.ZIP]. I don't know if the panel's
report deals with it either. I don't think the panel tried to
explain it. If they had offered an explanation, I think Groden
and Livingstone would have tried to answer it. I could be wrong,
though. It's kind of hard to believe they wouldn't have tried to
explain this, but I don't know. I still haven't gotten a copy of
the panel's report. So I really don't know.
MR. MEE. Okay. Well, that neck bulge needs to be explained. It
doesn't look natural, and it's parallel to the bulge in the post.
It disappears in 133-B, but then you have an indentation in the
post [in B].
MTG. Uh-huh. In his HSCA testimony, Jack White suggested that
the forger's knife slipped and caused the post bulge. Could
something like that have caused the bulge in the neck?
MR. MEE. Possibly. Something's definitely off there.
MTG. Oh, I wanted to ask you about McCamy's explanation of the
indentation in the post.
MR. MEE. All right.
MTG. Let me read it here. He was referring to a computer
printout that was produced by digital image processing.
Our inspection of this leads us to believe that
the apparent indentation is simply a shadow,
because if you look very carefully, you can see
the post running through that area, and this is
just a slight darkening. So that was merely a
MR. MEE. No, I don't think that's consistent with the direction
of the sun in the pictures. It's not consistent with the way the
MTG. So, just to summarize, you're saying that the sun,
according to the body shadow, isn't in a position where it
could cause a shadow that would produce the indentation
in the post?
MR. MEE. That's how it looks to me.
MTG. Just to let you know, to my knowledge the panel never
identified which leaf or branch could have possibly caused such a
shadow. They simply said the bulge COULD have been caused by the
shadow from a leaf or a branch, but they didn't say which leaf or
MR. MEE. Okay.
[Mr. Mee and MTG view Jack White video segment on the fact that
a patch of sunlight on the side of the house beside the post
holding the stairway does not change shape in any of the backyard
pictures, indicating that the camera making the photo did not
move horizontally. This patch of light is to the left of the
post and is roughly parallel with the figure's right elbow.]
MTG. Now, on the non-movement of that one shadow underneath
the stairway. If it doesn't change shape or position, even
though the pictures were supposedly taken with a hand-held
camera, what does that say? I'm asking this because, supposedly,
she [Marina] took the first picture. Snap. Then, Oswald came,
took the camera from her, advanced the film, handed it back to
her, and then went back to where he was. She then had to and
position the camera again. And then this process was REPEATED
for the third picture. So how could that patch of light not
change in some way?
MR. MEE. The possibility that that patch of light would stay
in the same position and maintain the same shape after all that
movement is remote. You'd need a tripod, and even then you'd
have to be careful. Can we see that again?
[Video segment is replayed several times.]
MR. MEE. I think I can see what he's talking about, but can we
look at that a couple more times?
[Video segment is replayed two more times.]
MR. MEE. Okay, let me take another look at these pictures really
MTG. Oh, sure. Take your time.
[Mr. Mee studies pictures for approximately one minute.]
MTG. Do you see what he's talking about?
MR. MEE. Yes. I would agree with that.
MTG. So wouldn't that be almost impossible using a hand-held
camera, especially given the way that these pictures were
MR. MEE. I would say it would be nearly impossible. The chances
of something like that happening would be astronomically small.
MTG. All right. . . .
MR. MEE. Even if you were using a modern camera, one that would
automatically advance the film after each shot, and were taking
a series of pictures, your chances of achieving that effect
would be low. They'd be better, but still very low.
MTG. All right. Now, if I'm not mistaken, I think we have just
one more segment.
[MTG starts to play the video tape and then realizes there are no
more video segments.]
MTG. Nope. That was it. That was the last of the segments.
MR. MEE. All right.
MTG. Okay. Now, a little while back, I got a message on
CompuServe from a gentleman named Paul Burke. In reference to
Jack White's secondary method for producing the frame edge
markings on the photos, he said, "Copying a photo assembled from
a group of photos as you and others have postulated using the
Imperial Reflex camera has a problem. Its focus ability, if any,
is limited, so the master montage would have to be large, a
couple of feet or so," which you said last time you didn't argue
with. . . .
MR. MEE. Right.
MTG. Okay, and then he continues, "and it would have all sorts
of granular discontinuities between the segments making it up,
such as sharp lines for the cuts, etc., etc."
MR. MEE. Well, I'd have to know more about the scenario he
has in mind. What are we talking about here? I mean, how
were the first pictures taken? What was in them? How many
copies are we talking about?
The appearance of your final product will depend on several
factors. It's going to depend on things like the quality of your
original photos, the camera, the enlarging equipment and
materials, and the retouching. There are a lot of things
that would come into play.
As far as size goes, it probably would be a rather large
photograph in this scenario. Your composite--it would have to be
a rather big picture. With the lighting in these pictures [the
backyard photos], I would guess that they used medium-speed film.
But there are so many things you'd have to establish first before
you made a judgment. And, also, the farther down the line you go
from your original, the more quality you're going to lose.
MTG. Okay. . . .
MR. MEE. Another thing--these pictures ARE grainy. I'm talking
about A, B, and C. They are not that sharp. They do have a
lot of texture and grain to them. Plus, you've got that
tell-tale line running across the chin, and the other things
[i.e., the bulge in the neck in 133-A and the indentation in the
post in 133-B].
MTG. All right. This thing about the chin, the line across the
chin in 133-A. Now, in the extract, we read that McCamy was
POSITIVE that the line that runs from one side of the neck to the
other, crossing the chin--that that line was caused by a water
spot. The panel as a whole, however, did not go this far. In
the report it says that the cause of the lines has not been
definitely determined. But I wanted to ask you what you thought
of McCamy's explanation?
MR. MEE. Well, I was reading through that, and I had some
problems with it. The. . . .
MTG. Okay. So you said you had some problems with McCamy's
explanation, with his claim that the irregular line across
the chin was caused by a water spot. This is the line that
Jack White mentions as well.
MR. MEE. Well, there are a couple things. One thing is the
sheer coincidence that this line just happens to fall in the chin
area; that this one edge of this one particular water spot is
supposed to have left deposits in such a way as to form a line
that coincidentally starts at one side of the neck, crosses the
chin, and then ends at the other side--right where Oswald's head
could have been attached to the body. I mean, this would be a
good place to join a head to a body in a composite, in the chin
area, and here we have a line in that region, and it's supposed
to be a water spot.
The other problem I have with what he says has to do with
his statements about the line as a photographic image.
MTG. Now, this is just before he starts talking about water
spots. You're talking about where he says the line isn't a
MR. MEE. Right.
MTG. Again, that line is the one that Jack White discusses in
the video, the one that starts off on one side of the upper neck,
crosses the chin, and then goes to the other side of the neck.
MR. MEE. Right.
MTG. Just to give us some context here, why don't I go
ahead and read exactly what he said about the line.
MR. MEE. Okay.
MTG. Let's see. . . . Here it is. This was McCamy.
Now that fine line is actually too fine to be a
photographic image. The photographic image is
made up of silver grains, and these grains are
distributed all through here, so we have a good
idea of their size and distribution. This line is
a line that is much finer than the silver grains
themselves. It is much too continuous to be a
photographic line. A line that had been
photographed from some kind of montage would have
had the grain pattern of a discontinuous line, but
this line is quite continuous. Indeed, we can
follow this line down up to here and then back
around to here. It is a closed loop.
MR. MEE. Now, when you talk about what has been photographed--
what you see in the picture--that has no bearing on the grains in
the negative emulsion. The grains are more a characteristic of
the film itself than what has been produced from a photographic
print. So, when he ways, "This line is a line that is much finer
than the silver grains themselves. This is much too continuous
to be a photographic line"--this, to me, holds no water at all.
He's looking at the A print, not at the negative, so his argument
holds no water.
[Mr. Mee again reads from the extract] "A line that had been
photographed from some kind of montage would have had the
grain pattern of a discontinuous line." Now, again, that's
coming from a print, but what you'd need to look at would be the
negative, and he didn't examine the A negative. So his
argument is not valid. It doesn't prove anything. You see,
the grain is a characteristic of the negative, not the print.
I mean, even forgetting about that part of his argument, what
he's saying is that it [the line] doesn't have a grain pattern
running through it. The line is so fine that he says it's
getting in between the grain, which would put it in the emulsion.
It's like a sandwich, kind of like with two pieces of plastic,
and then the water spot would be sitting on top. But I think
that would be so obvious that there would be no doubt about it.
When he says the line on the chin is part of a closed loop, I'm
sort of at a disadvantage because I don't have the exhibit he was
using. So it's hard for me to comment. But if that irregular
line is part of a closed loop and was caused by a water spot,
then the loop is the outline of the water spot. Now that line is
almost straight, and water spots don't normally have edges like
that. I mean, water spots . . . well . . . they're just that--
they're spots. They're usually more oblique. They're not going
to have long straight edges.
And I'd like to see where the other edges of this loop are. I
mean, they don't seem to be in the face. Just looking at these
pictures here, I can see the line across the chin, but I don't
see any other tell-tale lines in the face. So I'd like to know
where the other edges [of the loop] are.
MTG. Okay. What I'd like to do now is ask you about McCamy's
point concerning what they saw when they examined the negative,
the 133-B negative, with a phase contrast microscope. Let me
just read that part, okay?
MR. MEE. Sure.
MTG. [Reading from the extract]
We examined the negative with a phase contrast
microscope, which would detect very, very small
changes in thickness in the negative.
He didn't come right out and say it, but I assume he was saying
that they checked the negative with that high-powered microscope
and didn't find any changes in thickness in the chin area in the
MR. MEE. Well, the thickness of the negative is not necessarily
going to be relevant. What I'm saying is that the original
photograph could have been copied and then a negative could have
been made from that. So you're not going to see any difference
in density in the negative if the negative came from a retouched
MTG. Uh-huh. Oh, let's go back to the water spot for just a
second if we could. I wanted to ask you something else about
what McCamy said about it.
MR. MEE. Okay.
MTG. He said, "We did not see water spots. . . ." Now, in the
extract the word "not" is missing, but it's obvious that that's
what he was saying. As you read on, it's obvious that that's
what he was saying. [Resumes reading]
We did not see water spots on 133-B, but we do see
that this same spot occurs on both of these first-
generation prints of the A negative, so we know
that the spot must have been on the negative.
Any comments on that?
MR. MEE. Well, to me, what he's saying is inconsistent. He's
saying that the water spot had to be on the A negative because
it's on the print, and that it's not part of the photographic
image. But unless you see the negative, you can't really say
MTG. Now, just for the record here, let me read what the
[photographic] panel said about the irregular lines that
appeared on the scanned image of the B negative. I'm reading
from Groden and Livingstone's book HIGH TREASON.
MR. MEE. Yes.
MTG. Let me go ahead and read that out of the book.
MR. MEE. Okay.
MTG. They're quoting directly from the photographic panel's
report. Let's see. . . . Here it is. [Reads from page
201 of HIGH TREASON]
Under very carefully adjusted display conditions,
the scanned image of the Oswald backyard negative
did exhibit irregular, very fine lines in the chin
The panel went on to say that the lines were probably caused
by "very faint water stains." Comments?
MR. MEE. Yes, I meant to ask you about their reference to
"lines," not just a single line. What other lines did they find?
MTG. You know, to be honest, I don't know. I've wondered about
that myself, because McCamy only mentioned one line that was
found with digital image scanning.
MR. MEE. Huh. Well, as far as what we just read, I would
say it's evidence of tampering. I don't accept the idea that
that line across the chin was caused by a water spot, at least
not at this stage I don't. Now, again, I haven't seen the
exhibit that shows the shape of the water spot that McCamy says
caused the line, but I'd be surprised if it caused me to change
my mind. I just don't think a water spot would leave that kind
of a line.
MTG. Okay. Now, McCamy said that they examined the chin area
with digital image processing and that they didn't find any
MR. MEE. Well, if you matched the film speed, using the kind of
film that was common back then, it would be hard to prove
something either way. Back then there was pretty much one way of
If you had a forger who knew his stuff and who knew the kinds
of things that would be checked for later on, you'd have to
guess that he would have done his best to match the grain
characteristics. This wouldn't have been impossible. If
he had access to the negatives of the pictures of Oswald's
head, it could have been done.
What I'm saying is that the tampering, the pasting of the head
onto the figure's chin, could have been done well enough to where
they [the members of the photographic panel] would not have been
able to pick it up with the technology that they had at that
MTG. Ah, here's the part I was looking for you. If I could,
I'd like to read this to you. This is about the grain pattern
One of the things that we wanted to do was to
study the nature of the silver grain in the areas
above the chin and below the chin, because of the
allegation that there were two different
photographs in some way. And so we did
that. . . . And as photographic scientists, we
found nothing remarkable about the grain pattern.
This was the same type of grain pattern.
MR. MEE. But, again, if the forger matched up the film, there
wouldn't be any noticeable difference in the grain. It [digital
image processing] would be inconclusive. Now, I'm not saying
this would be an easy process. It would all depend on if you had
the negatives of the pictures of the head.
MTG. To match the film, you mean.
MR. MEE. Right. But it could be done. With the way film was
made back then--there was pretty much one way of making film--if
you matched the film speed, assuming you had access to the
negative of each head shot you were using, you could match the
MTG. So your position is that the things that they claimed to
have observed through digital image processing in and of
themselves cannot prove that these are authentic photographs?
MR. MEE. No, I don't think that digital image processing alone
can prove these photographs are authentic. With the technology
that was available back then [in the late 1970s], I don't think
they could have proven this. I don't know that it could be done
today--possibly, with the scanning technology that's just
coming out, you could do it. It would depend on how carefully
the forger matched the film and on what steps he went through to
fake the photographs. There are a lot of variables.
MTG. All right. Vanishing point analysis. I'm a layman, and
when I read this, I got the impression that they didn't want to
deal with the shadow angles themselves, so they resorted to
this vanishing point analysis. They tried to explain all the
shadow problems in the pictures--the neck, the nose and the eyes,
the body shadows--with vanishing point analysis. Let me read
this so we have some context here:
Mr. GOLDSMITH. Mr. McCamy, how did the panel
address the question of the shadows in the
Mr. MCCAMY. This was addressed by a vanishing
Mr. GOLDSMITH. What do you mean by "vanishing
Mr. MCCAMY. The sun is very distant, so far away
that we can consider it to be at infinity, and as
a result, if we draw a line from an object to the
shadow of the object, and we do this in a number
of places in a scene, all of those lines are
Now you may recall, if you have ever seen a
photograph of railroad tracks disappearing into
the distance, the photograph shows those two rails
converging at a point. That is called the
vanishing point. The rails are parallel but in
the photograph they converge. This is taught in
art courses in high school and in mechanical
drawing, so the converging of parallel lines is a
well-known matter of perspective. In a photograph
one should expect that these parallel shadow lines
should converge at the vanishing point. . . .
Mr. MCCAMY. Yes. Here we have 133-A and 133-B. A
line is drawn from a part of this stairway, past
the shadow of the stairway, down to here. A line
is drawn from the butt of the pistol, through the
shadow of the butt of the pistol, down to here,
from the arm to the shadow of the arm, down to
here. And when we do this for all the points in
the photograph, we find that they all meet at a
point, as they should.
Now this is the line that passes through the nose
and the chin down to here, and that one is the
nose to the shadow of the nose. That is the one
thing that has been disputed so frequently, and
if you do the analysis properly, you see that the
shadow lies right where it is supposed to lie.
The same thing is true over here. Here we have the
muzzle of the rifle, the shadow of the muzzle of
the rifle, and so on down the line.
Mr. GOLDSMITH. Mr. McCamy, if the lines were not
parallel, would they all meet at one point as they
do in these two exhibits?
Mr. MCCAMY. No.
Mr. GOLDSMITH. If the lines in these two exhibits
had not met at one point, what conclusion or
inference might you have drawn?
Mr. MCCAMY. We might have drawn the conclusion
that something had been drawn in rather than
traced in by the hand of nature.
Mr. GOLDSMITH. Did you do a similar vanishing
point analysis for 133-C?
Mr. MCCAMY. Yes.
Mr. GOLDSMITH. And what were the results?
Mr. MCCAMY. The results were the same.
Now, when you read on, however, it gets a little more
interesting. McCamy was asked about the sharp angles of the
lines in his analysis. I'll find it here. It jumped out at me
as soon as I read it. [MTG looks through extract for a few
seconds] Okay. Here it is. Let me read this. He [McCamy]
was being questioned by Congressman Fithian, who was the only
guy to ask any challenging questions. He [Fithian] said,
This morning I was listening carefully when you
described the vanishing point concept, which I
find fascinating. But I wonder why did the
vanishing point lines converge in such a very,
very short distance on your chart.
Now, I look at a railroad, even an artist's
conception of a railroad track, or a road where it
sort of narrows off. It gives me the impression
that we are talking about, you know, great
Yet, there are some very, very sharp angles that
those lines from the bush and the nose and the
rest of it come in, all within 2 feet on your
chart. Could you explain that optical problem
that I am having?
And here's McCamy's answer:
Yes. The vanishing point may be at infinity; that
is, if we have parallel vertical lines and the
axis of the camera is horizontal. Then we do get
parallel lines, and of course that says that the
vanishing point is at infinity.
Now, a very slight tilt of the camera will cause a
convergence, but it would be a very slight
convergence. It starts at infinity and it begins
to move inward.
Now, on the photographs that we saw here, the
vanishing point of the shadows was substantially
below the photographs. If photographs had been
made later and later in that day, I have estimated
that these pictures were taken about 4 to 4:30 in
the afternoon--if pictures were made later, the
vanishing point would have continued to move up
until finally it would be within the picture area;
that is, as the Sun had moved behind the
In the instance that you cite of the railroad
track disappearing into the distance, the
vanishing point is in the picture, and you
are seeing the vanishing point.
I think that is as far as I can go in describing
that phenomenon. The vanishing point can be
anywhere from at infinity to right in the picture
Now, I didn't quite understand exactly how McCamy explained the
fact that the angles in his chart were so sharp and converged
in such a short distance.
MR. MEE. Well, not having looked at his chart, it's hard for
me to comment on it. I'd have to look at it and see exactly what
we're talking about. Those lines and sharp angles do sound odd,
but I'd need to see the chart itself before I could really form
an opinion here.
But, really, I understand the principle of vanishing points,
and I don't think it's relevant in this case. The real issue is
the conflicts between the shadows. And, another thing, I can
tell you that the sun that hit Oswald's face wasn't in a four
o'clock position. You've also get to deal with the absence of
shadow where there should be shadow. You've got to look at the
shadows themselves--study their angles, determine the direction
of your light source, those kinds of things.
I mean, a vanishing point analysis is not about to explain
why Oswald's nose shadow doesn't move or change form in the
photographs. It's not going to explain why you seem to have
two separate light sources hitting the body and the face. It's
not going to explain those bulges [in the neck and the post].
MTG. Okay. The disappearing chin. McCamy said that the
edge of the chin disappeared in shadow. Now, the problem he
was trying to explain is the fact that in the backyard photos
the chin is broad and flat, but in all other pictures of Oswald--
in all those that were taken from any kind of a frontal
viewpoint--his chin is sharp and cleft.
MR. MEE. It HAS disappeared in shadow, but not to the extent
that Oswald's would have, and that's the difference.
MTG. Okay. He [McCamy] was saying that Oswald's chin form
vanished to the point that in the picture it looks like he has a
broad, flat chin.
MR. MEE. No, I would disagree with that. The sun was not in
a position to have that much of an affect on the appearance of
MTG. Uh-huh. Okay. Now, Mr. Fithian, bless his heart, he had
a problem with this, too. Here's part of the exchange he had
Mr. FITHIAN. Here is a thing that I had the
greatest difficulty with in terms of my own
viewing of the photographs, is the squareness of
I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if we could ask that that
multiple photograph, that chart with half a dozen
Oswalds on it, plus the two, could be put back up.
While we are doing this, let me preface my
question by saying that sitting here and looking
at your exhibit, I did not visually at least
identify any other chin that was even
approximately as square as the one in the backyard
photograph--from all of the pictures that you put
I could not see that. I hate to return to what you
have already done. But it still puzzles me and
troubles me. That seems to be one of the
strongest points of the critics, is the misshape
of the chin. I want to make sure I understood
It was your testimony that it was the light and
shadow combination of an overhead Sun or whatever?
Mr. MCCAMY. Yes.
Mr. FITHIAN. Do I understand you correctly?
Mr. MCCAMY. Yes.
Then they went on for a bit, and then Fithian continued:
Mr. FITHIAN. In the photo, in the two large
blowups, the right-hand photo, is it your
testimony, then, that the point of the chin, which
obviously doesn't disappear--and I find it
difficult to believe that just by changing your
teeth or your mouth position it really makes that
much difference--is it then that the point of the
chin disappears in the shadow of the chin in
Is that what you are saying happens in that
Mr. MCCAMY. Yes, the lower part of the chin is not
illuminated, so you don't see it. It just
disappears in the shadow.
MTG. Do you accept that?
MR. MEE. Well, such a thing is possible, but not in this
instance, because of the position of the sun.
MTG. And that is what?
MR. MEE. The position of the sun?
MR. MEE. Well, the sun is overhead and to his left.
MTG. Based on the body shadows, you mean?
MR. MEE. Yeah. The sunlight is coming down at him from about
a four o'clock position. So I don't see how it could have made
that much of his chin disappear. I mean, the underside of the
chin is in shadow, but the edge hasn't vanished. The form [of
the chin] is still there.
MTG. What if the sun came from right around a twelve o'clock
MR. MEE. Well, then you'd have to explain why both sides of the
neck aren't in the same amount of shadow, and why the body shadow
falls off to his right.
MR. MEE. I mean, if anything, it seems like there's more chin
there, more than there should be, in terms of width, even if
you ignore how flat it is.
MTG. Yeah, I think so too.
MR. MEE. That's how it looks to me. I would say the chin is a
MTG. Uh-huh. Okay. Now, I'd like to ask you about the
fact that the panel found only very small variations in the
distances between objects in the background of the pictures.
Given the way that these photos were supposedly taken, does
that seem possible?
MR. MEE. No, the variations would be greater if these
photographs were taken the way Marina said they were. I mean,
like they showed in the video: She snaps a picture; Oswald walks
over and takes the camera from her; he advances the film; he
hands the camera back to her; he goes back over and assumes
another pose; she aims with the camera again and then takes the
picture; and they go through this process again for the third
photo. No. . . . No way. The camera would have moved more than
just a tiny fraction of an inch.
Even with a professional photographer who's trying to hold the
camera as still as possible, you're going to have more variations
in distance than what they're talking about in these pictures.
MTG. Now, Jack White mentioned that the small differences in
distance could have been produced by keystoning. What do you
think about that?
MR. MEE. Oh, I think he's right. Now, when he was demonstrating
the keystoning effect in the video, he was exaggerating a little
bit to help you understand what he was talking about, but he's
got the right idea. It would be a simple matter of tilting the
easel just a little bit. I mean, any slight movement in the
enlarger or the easel could cause the kinds of differences
they're talking about here.
MTG. Okay. Stereoscopic analysis. They said that when they
analyzed these photos, they were able to view them
stereoscopically. Let me just read some of what McCamy said:
We were able to view these photographs
stereoscopically, so we know that there was slight
camera movement. We know that there were two
pictures. But it has much more far reaching
consequence than that.
It tells us that there was a solid three
dimensional field that was photographed two times.
If one were to have photographed the background
once, and then taken a camera and photographed
that print and then rephotographed the print from
two angles, when that is viewed stereoscopically,
the human eye would tell you that you were looking
at a plane print. That isn't what we saw. We saw
depth, and we can still see depth.
Now if one were going to do art work on actual
stereo pairs, that art work has to be done
exceedingly meticulously, because the slightest
difference in the art work on one photograph and
the art work on the other photograph would cause
the points involved to appear to be too far away
or too close. They would tend to float in space.
So stereo viewing is an excellent way of checking
up on the authenticity of the photograph.
Mr. GOLDSMITH. Is any special viewer necessary to
enable someone to see in stereo?
Mr. MCCAMY. It is not necessary but it makes it
more convenient for most people.
Mr. GOLDSMITH. How many panel members examined
these photographs in stereo?
Mr. MCCAMY. At least, oh, a half dozen.
MTG. Any thoughts about that?
MR. MEE. If you have slight movement during the enlarging
process or during the copying process, I think you could get a
different perspective in the photographs that would cause that
effect. So, that doesn't prove. . . . It doesn't convincingly
say that these pictures are authentic.
I mean, I think we've all at one time looked through those little
children's viewfinders and have seen those cartoon slides in
3-D. The reason you get that is that you're looking through two
different eyes and seeing the result of a slight movement of the
prints. The prints of the cartoons have been slightly moved--the
prints you're looking at through the viewfinder. You've got two
prints, and they've been moved slightly, and that's what gives
you your 3-D effect, the slight movement of those prints.
So, in the case of these photographs. . . .
MTG. The backyard photographs.
MR. MEE. Right. In this case, if you had slight movement in
the enlarger or during the copying process, you could get the
right amount of difference between the photos so that you would
be able to view them in stereo.
MTG. Okay. One thing that I'd really like to ask you about
has to do with the DeMohrenschildt photograph and the frame edge
markings. Actually, it doesn't just involve the frame edge
markings. It involves matching the DeMohrenschildt photo to the
IR camera's film plane aperture. We talked about this briefly
last time. Now, when Jack White testified before the Committee,
the House Select Committee. . . .
MR. MEE. Uh-huh.
MTG. Okay. Now, this involves the finding of the edge markings
on the edges of the DeMohrenschildt photo and the determination
that the photo is genuine because those markings are unique to
the IR camera. Now, Jack White, when he testified back then,
said. . . . Well, let me read what he said. [Reads from page
205 of HIGH TREASON]
The DeMohrenschildt picture shows a much larger
amount of background around the edges than any of
the photographs, 133-A, B, or C. To me, this
indicates that the DeMohrenschildt picture is
printed full negative. In fact, we can verify
this because it is printed with a black border
around the edge, the black border being the clear
area around the edge of the negative.
According to the FBI, the picture, CE-133-B, was
identified as being taken with Oswald's camera
because it could be matched to the film plane
aperture. Yet, if the DeMohrenschildt picture
shows a larger background area and it is taken
from the same camera viewpoint, then 133-A, B, and
C have been cropped and, therefore, if there is
more background area in the picture, then it [the
DeMohrenschildt photo] could not possibly be
matched to the film plane aperture.
Do you understand his point?
MR. MEE. Yes.
MTG. Can you explain it in layman's terms? Do you think he's
MR. MEE. Well, there are certain things I'd have to know
before I could say whether or not he's right. I'll put it this
way: If the DeMohrenschildt photo has a lot more background than
the B negative, and if both were taken from the same camera
viewpoint, then, yes, that would tend to tell me that Mr. White
is correct. What you'd have to do is make precise measurements
of the DeMohrenschildt picture and the B negative, and then
compare them. You'd also need to know if they were taken from
the same camera viewpoint. You'd want a good, uncropped print of
the B negative. These are the kinds of things I'd need to check
out before I could really say anything about what he [White]
MTG. In his video, Jack White suggests that the DeMohrenschildt
photo is a composite made up of 133-A and the border of the film
plane aperture of the IR camera.
MR. MEE. Can we see that segment again?
[Video segment is located on the tape and then replayed.]
MR. MEE. No, that explanation. . . . I see what he's saying,
but if you do that, you're going to have sort of a line of
demarcation all the way around. This would be very easy to
identify. Or, let's put it this way: It would be very difficult
to cover up, extremely difficult to cover up, a line like that.
It would be almost impossible to do that.
MTG. Okay. Now to get back to the other point, about the fact
that it's so much clearer than 133-A and. . . .
MR. MEE. It's an earlier generation than the ones that have
MTG. Right. Now how would they have gotten the two scratch
marks onto it [the DeMohrenschildt photo]?
MR. MEE. Well, this gets into how these pictures could have
been made. I'll tell you what I think they might have done.
[Mr. Mee starts to draw a diagram, using squares to represent
pictures and/or negatives. As he presents his explanation, he
points back and forth to the different squares. For instance,
when he refers to "this one" or says "here," he points to a
certain square, and then when he says something like "and then
this one over here," he points to a different square, etc.,
You see, what I'm thinking is that there was a group of backyard
photographs made long before the DeMohrenschildt photograph, and
that at some point in this earlier group you have composites.
The first pictures, the very first ones, would be taken with a
high-quality camera, a very high-quality camera. So your first
pictures are all very high quality. Okay?
MR. MEE. And then this group here would be taken from those
pictures, again using a high-quality camera. Now the pictures
in this group would be smaller than the first ones.
And then, after that, just for example, way down the road,
133-A, B, and C were taken from these. Okay? And every time
along the way you're losing a generation.
MR. MEE. And, you never can tell, there may have been more then
a couple generations in between these photos.
Now, in the early stages, we're just talking about the
background--one very high-quality picture of the backyard.
So, then, you get down to here where you have your first pictures
that include the figure holding the rifle and the newspapers.
MTG. All right.
MR. MEE. Now, there may have been more originals. You don't
know how many could have existed before that.
At this stage here, you introduce one or two heads, and you
retouch those prints. Then, you photograph that print and
you come up with a print and a negative here. And you do that
for each picture. Now, these prints could be retouched, or the
negatives could be retouched. Then, you'd make prints from those
Now, you're down to here. This is where we introduce this stage,
here. These photographs can either be the same or a generation
or two down. Okay, then you've got these photos here--they've
had the art work done on them and they've been reworked. Until
now you're using a very high-quality camera. Then, you
photograph one of these photos with the IR camera to make, for
example, the DeMohrenschildt picture, which would give you the
edge markings and the scratches.
MTG. Now, what would happen if you were to analyze, say, the
negative of this photo right here with digital image processing
after all this stuff had been done?
MR. MEE. Well, you've got to remember that you have these other
pictures up here, where the heads are included. The grain
pattern of this photo--the one that you're talking about--is
going to be dependent on the film that has been used. If you
have the negative of the photo of the head, then you know what
kind of film to use.
Let's say you saw that the film used for the head was, oh, 100-
speed Kodak. That was a pretty common film back then, 100-speed.
It might have even been less than that. Now, you would have to
be sure, then, to use 100-speed Kodak to shoot the prints of the
background and of the guy standing with the rifle and the
newspapers. The key would be to keep your film consistent
throughout. That would be very important. Now, if you did this,
it would be extremely difficult, with the technology that they
had during that time, to detect what little differences you
would have with this process. We're talking about the late
MTG. 1978 to 1979.
MR. MEE. Right. I don't think they had the technology back then
to be able to discern the small differences you'd have if you
kept your film consistent. Today, possibly, with the
sophistication of the computers and the scanning capabilities
that they're just now coming out with, you might be able to spot
the differences. But in the late seventies, I don't think they
had the capability to detect them. As long as you maintained
the consistency of the film for your photos, they'd all blend
together. It's just like anything else. If your process is
gradual enough, they're going to blend right in. This is how I
think these photographs could have been made.
MTG. Do you think there was only one forger?
MR. MEE. No, I think you would have needed a team, a group of
MTG. I'd like to show you a couple doctored prints that were
released by Dallas authorities in 1992.
[MTG shows Mr. Mee the two prints, both of which show a white
human silhouette where Oswald is supposed to be. The whited-out
figure corresponds closely in size and outline to the figure in
the backyard photos.]
MR. MEE. Is that right? Well, somebody was doing something.
Now, this doesn't prove that this is how it was done. But these
prints might represent an early attempt to produce the backyard
photos. You never know.
See, the thing is, though, I don't believe the pictures were
made like this because you would have had too much area to
retouch, even for a good retoucher. Here, in the head area, you
would have only had a very small area to worry about. Mind you,
these prints might have been a part of the process. It could
have been done that way. But that's not how I would have done
They [the forgers] probably looked at several different options
for making these photographs, and they would have been looking
for the best method. So these prints could have been one
of the ways that they considered.
MTG. All right. I'd like to ask you about varying exposure
MR. MEE. Well, I understand what they were doing. The theory
is that you're trying to. . . .
MTG. Can I go ahead and read a little bit first?
MR. MEE. Sure.
MTG. Okay, I'm going to read some of what McCamy said about
Mr. GOLDSMITH. Please explain the results of this
varying exposure analysis.
Mr. MCCAMY. Yes. In these illustrations, the
greatest exposure gives the darkest print, and the
least exposure, the lightest print. The advantage
of doing this is that in the lightest areas of the
picture we can see detail here that cannot be seen
up here. Conversely, in the shadows, this is the
best photograph on which to look for the detail.
So that is a print ideally exposed to look into
the shadows. This one is ideally exposed to look
into the highlights, so we can see all the detail
Mr. GOLDSMITH. After applying this method, did
the panel discern anything unusual about these
Mr. MCCAMY. No, nothing at all. There had been
allegations that the shadows were painted in, and
a simple examination of the shadows on these
pictures shows that there is plenty of detail
there. You can see grass, little stones. There
is a newspaper lying back here. You can see the
detail on it.
MR. MEE. I don't think it's an issue. I mean, I don't think the
shadows were added. Now, I haven't had time to study these
pictures long enough to give a firm opinion in this area. But,
just from what I can see--again, without looking at the
originals--I don't think the shadows were added.
What he's talking about here is altering the exposure so
you can see detail in the shadows. A black and white print has
different grades from lightness to darkness. The full spectrum
is called a zone system. The full spectrum is from 1 to 10--1
being your whitest white, and 10 being your blackest black. Most
cameras and film can only pick up a zone from about. . . . Well,
let's say this is a sliding scale. Your camera might get a very
white white, but it might not get a really dark dark, and it
doesn't get everything in between. So, by altering the exposure,
you can lighten these dark areas and see detail in them.
Now that doesn't explain the problems of the different shadow
angles and the bulges in the post and the neck.
MR. MEE. And I still have some questions about the shadow
of the neck and the head in 133-A. It looks a little odd, but
that might be due to using a different head. But the shadows of
the bushes, the stairway, and all that--I don't see why a
retoucher would have bothered with them. It would have been
taking an unnecessary risk. So, really, I'd tend to agree with
him [McCamy]. From what I can see, I don't think the shadows
MTG. Okay. . . .
MR. MEE. Now, if he's saying that this analysis explains the
shadow angles and those neck and post bulges, then I would
disagree with him. You're not going to explain away those
problems with that sort of analysis.
MTG. It seems to me that the easiest way to explain the
different body shadows would be to assume that they were
photographed at different times of the day.
MR. MEE. Yeah, I think they were just taken at different times
of the day.
You see, I understand what some of these guys [conspiracists] are
saying. If you had a situation where you took a picture of the
scene, and then took a picture of a person in a studio or
somewhere else and then put the figure in the picture, then you'd
need to add the shadows. But I agree with him [McCamy] here. I
don't think the shadows were added. It would be a lot easier to
just put a head on a body. I mean, you could put anybody in the
picture. You could take the picture with the background and
the body and everything, and then just take the head and put it
on the figure. That would be a lot easier.
MTG. Okay. I know we talked about this quite a bit last time,
but I'd like to ask you again about the reenactment that McCamy
cited to show that the nose shadow could remain the same even
with the head tilted. I've already discussed this reenactment
in detail in the forum [the JFK Assassination Forum on
CompuServe]. I'd just like to get some of your views on it.
MR. MEE. [Begins shaking his head from side to side in the
typical "No" motion.] Right. Well. . . . [pauses and
continues to shake his head]
MTG. Well, you know, even Congressman Fithian pointed out that
the chances that all those things would occur at the same
time were very low. [Fithian was referring to the manipulated
and unrealistic head and camera movements that were done in the
MR. MEE. Yeah. Well, let's put it this way: What they did
wasn't realistic. The bottom line is that the [nose] shadow
should have shifted when the head tilted. I mean, with the head
tilted like that, you wouldn't have a drastic change, but you'd
get enough movement that you could easily spot the difference.
There's just no way that shadow should look like that.
MTG. Okay. Let's see. . . . Let me see if I can find it
here. Okay, here it is. What I have here is a picture. . . .
[Side two of the third tape runs out. The portion follows is
reconstructed from notes taken by MTG. MTG showed Mr. Mee the
notes at the conclusion of the interview, and Mr. Mee said
they accurately reflected what he had said.]
MTG. I'd like to show you a picture from Gerald Posner's book
CASE CLOSED. The picture shows the grain structure analysis that
was done on the right side of Oswald's face. Would you take a
look at it and tell me what you think?
[MTG shows Mr. Mee the bottom photo on the sixth page of pictures
in Posner's book. Mr. Mee studies it for about a minute.]
MR. MEE. I can see some variation in the grain pattern.
However, I wouldn't form an opinion just from looking at a copy
of a picture of this nature in a book. I would need to study the
originals with a high-powered microscope so that I could see the
grain structure. But, if the forger matched the film, and given
the fact that for the most part there was one standard way
of making film in the 60s, I wouldn't expect to see a big
difference in the grain anyway. If the film was in fact
matched, it would be difficult to reach a definite conclusion
about the grain in terms of the authenticity of the backyard
MTG. When McCamy recognized that Mr. Scott's photograph was
a fake, he did so because the shadows on the suit didn't match
the shadows on the railing. McCamy explained:
He [Mr. Scott, a fellow panel member] spent 40
hours with an assistant preparing a fake
photograph of a man standing in a backyard. When
he presented the photograph, he mailed it to me, I
pulled it out of the envelope, and as I pulled it
out of the envelope I said it is a fake.
I was rather surprised that it was that easy. As
it turned out, what he had done was to make a
photograph, a 6-foot photograph of a 6-foot man,
and this was placed in the backyard, and it was
But there was a thing that caught my eye
instantly; that is, that there were shadows that
were cast by parts of a dark suit. There were
shadows cast by parts of a railing immediately
behind the man.
When the suit was in full sunlight, it exactly
matched the railing. But the shadows on the suit
didn't match the shadows on the railing.
Now, that would not be the way it would have been
if it had been a true photograph.
When I read this, I thought it was strange that this was the same
man who had just gone to such great lengths to dismiss the
implications of the variant shadows in the backyard photos. Yet,
he admitted that he concluded that Mr. Scott's picture was a fake
because some of the shadows didn't match. What is your opinion
on this matter?
MR. MEE. McCamy was saying the same thing about Scott's photo
that others have said about the backyard pictures. He was not
Inconsistent shadows in a photo are a clear indication of fakery.
McCamy was absolutely correct in immediately branding Mr. Scott's
picture a fake based on the conflicting shadows, because we
only have one sun. The shadow conflicts in the backyard
photographs are at least, if not more, serious and telling. The
head and the body were not photographed in the same sunlight.
They were taken at two different times of the day.
MTG. What do you think of the argument that a good forger would
have done his pasting in a different part of the body, such as
in the stomach or in the chest?
MR. MEE. For one thing, in order to attach an upper body onto
someone else's lower body in the stomach or chest area, you would
have to match the shirt widths exactly. You would need to
maintain consistency in any wrinkles or folds that came up to the
joining point. You would have to ensure that the two persons'
builds and figures were compatible. Also, the larger the object
that your attaching, the harder it will be to hide the pasting.
There is also the matter of the figure's pose. In order to
attach Oswald's upper body onto a lower body, the forgers would
have needed a picture of Oswald with his arms and hands in the
necessary positions. They would have needed photos of him
with his hands held in such a way that the rifle and the
newspapers could have been inserted into them.
Doing the pasting at the abdomen or lower would also present
problems. The builds and figures would again have to be
compatible. And you would be increasing the size of the
object to be attached, thus making it even harder to hide
The chin area would be a logical place to do the joining, for
a number of reasons. Most people have a natural cleft or
indentation of some form in the chin, beneath the lower lip, and
I notice that the line across Oswald's chin runs through this
area. In joining only about 4/5 of a head onto a chin, the
object to be attached would be small, much smaller than part or
all of a man's upper body.
The neck would be another place where the pasting could be done.
The object to be attached would still be relatively small, at
least when compared to an upper body. But, you would need to
have necks that were identical in size and shape.
MTG. Finally, what would you say in summary about the backyard
MR. MEE. I am convinced they are fake. They show impossible
shadows. The shadow conflicts are serious and telling. There is
no way the backyard photos could have identical, or even nearly
identical, backgrounds if they were taken in the manner described
by Marina Oswald. The figure's chin is not Oswald's chin. This
is readily apparent. Even if we were to accept the claim that
the line across the chin was caused by a water spot, that would
not change the fact that the chin itself is noticeably different
from Oswald's chin. The neck bulge and the post indentation are
further indications of tampering.
MTG. I would like to thank you for coming here tonight and for
taking so much of your time to answer my questions.
MR. MEE. You're quite welcome, and it was my pleasure.