IMPORTANT NOTE ADDED 10 JUNE 2012: MUCH OF WHAT I SAID IN THE FOLLOWING POST IS NOW RENDERED LARGELY REDUNDANT BY MY LEARNING OF M.LATENDRESSE’S “SHROUD SCOPE” . THIS SPLENDID RESOURCE- ONE THAT DESERVES TO BE MUCH BETTER KNOWN – ALLOWS ONE TO ZOOM IN IMAGES OBTAINED IN 2002 (OF SUFFICIENTLY HIGH RESOLUTION SUCH THAT PIXELLATION IS RARELY A PROBLEM EVEN AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF MAGNIFICATION).
SEE ALSO MY OWN HIGH-CONTRAST VERSIONS OF SHROUD SCOPE PICTURES, e.g. A SELECTION OF 20
Documentary-maker David Rolfe (he of “The Silent Witness’, 1978) has recently provided an intriguing glimpse of a still-under-wraps HD image of the Shroud of Turin. See his ‘Enigma’ website.
Update: 16th May 2012: at some point, in the last few days, David Rolfe has removed the high-definition image that is the subject of this posting, and replaced it with something different. Yet my comment is still there, referring to what I consider a valuable and hitherto unavailable resource, where I enquire as to its provenance, and ask why it is not more generally available. I do not know Rolfe’s reason for removing it, and cannot inquire openly, since he has blocked me (and at least one other) from placing new comments on his “Challenge” site. However, I see no reason to delete this post, which is motivated by genuine research interest, with no commercial angle whatsoever (unlike Rolfe’s Challenge), and consider the use of that now disappeared image to fall within the realms of “fair use” where copyright is concerned, especially as I consulted with him before posting here. If he wants the HD image removed from this post, then he has only to ask.
It is part of an unreleased 12.8 billion-pixel HD (high definition) image of the Shroud that was taken in 2008 (or at any rate, that was the year in which Rolfe announced its existence to the world in a short documentary).
As much as I would like, I can’t say much about it at the present – it a relatively small part of the image – mainly the eyes and bridge of nose. One would like to see a larger section before making generalisations. Sadly the latter requires a “release note” from its owners, with some minor but irritating strings attached, to say nothing of delay which I shan’t elaborate upon right now.
So for now I shall content myself with making a few cursory observations on what’s available, with the caveat that everything said here is provisional for the reasons stated.
First, let’s convert that positive image in Rolfe’s banner back to an original pseudo-negative, albeit in monochrome, so that it resembles the Shroud as viewed on one of its rare showings.
The first thing to note is that the image is almost entirely confined to the diagonal ribs of the herringbone twill. Yet that image comprises diverse features that are or might variously be described as eyelids, eyebrows, blood stains etc. Is it not strange that there is nothing in close-up that suggests hair (as on eyebrows) or blood (that one might expect to be in the furrows between the ribs)?
Yes, we know the image is not a painting, since there is no evidence of applied pigment – but an image confined to the ribs that is intrinsic to the fabric, e.g. through chemical modification of the linen fibres per se, makes it highly probable that it is a superficial SCORCH, as I have maintained previously.
There are certainly no grounds for thinking that any kind of at-a-distance radiation – heat, light, least of all ultraviolet – produced so selective an image, confined to the most superficial part of the linen, i.e. the diagonal ribs.
Given the absence of “eyebrows” except as a darkening of the image along the brow ridge – who is to say that there are eyebrows – as distinct from a pressure imprint off a bony prominence? What about the moustache and beard? Are they really there, or do we just interpret the darker image above and below the mouth as facial hair? Who is to say that they too are not mere prominences that are preferentially imaged.
The first part of the face that impacts on a parallel plane (i.e. forcibly apposed linen sheet – NOT just loosely-draped) is the tip of the nose (v.prominent on Shroud). The next is the brow ridge – then the end of chin/lips –then the cheekbones – again all v.prominent. Do I hear an objection that they would all be prominent in a photograph – through scattering more light? Yes, that is true. But the Shroud is not any kind of photograph, given there is no directionality in the image as would be expected from uneven illumination. It is a pseudo-negative certainly – but that does not make it a photograph, any more than the branded image from a hot metal template is a photograph (while being a pseudo-negative).
So where do we go from here? The top priority is for the powers-that-be to release the entire HD image of the Shroud. I for one want to examine the “moustache” and “beard” closely.
You see, there is something not quite right about either of those - at least in the low-definition images that we have to be content with so far. The “moustache” looks too straight-sided geometrical:
(This is my “optimised” 3D image – optimised using a model scorched image to ensure greatest correspondence with original template) – converted back to a pseudo-negative.
Note the “beard” is largely missing on one side (tugged out by Christ’s tormentors according to some scriptural scholars?), and shows up as white in parts on the positive image (prompting some to ask what a grey or silver beard is doing on someone in their early 30s).
Note too the preferential imaging of one side to the left of the midline as viewed.
Am I the only one to find it incomprehensible that a HD image should have been taken of the Shroud in 2008, and made the subject of a documentary – while here we are, over 4 years later speculating on what it might or might not show – except for the small part that the documentary-maker currently uses as banner on his blog?
RELEASE THE FULL HD IMAGE NOW, PLEASE TURIN – WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED
It is totally unacceptable that controversy and speculation should continue to this day, when much of it is uninformed or pure guesswork – the result of commentators being ignorant of, or denied (easy) access to the facts.
Additional reading: Did Jesus have a beard?
Important: have just realized, two days after posting this, that the image also has “hair” – it’s the darker band on the left that occupies about 1/5th the width of the image. Note that it too shows nothing in this HD close-up that would distinguish it as strands of hair. The darker image is essentially no different from what one sees, say, on the bridge of the nose.
As before, the caveat is needed that one needs to see the HD image of the entire face and head. But some tentative conclusions are possible: while one can argue, as I have done above, that the “eyebrows” are not really there – that it is the brow ridge that could have been imaged by a kind of pressure imprinting (“barography”?) the same can hardly be said of the “head of hair”, given that the outer margin of the hair (at leas)t does not have underlying bone if viewed as a frontal image. So what would cause head hair, if indeed real hair, to be imaged if neither photography nor “barography” can be invoked? Certainly not vapourography either (see comments) given that hair does not putrefy to form those organic amines (putrescine, cadaverine) that Ray Rogers thought were instrumental in image formation via Maillard reactions. The plot thickens, as they say…