I'm a commercial photographer (retired) and a Photoshop user.
Looking at the lighting, particularly the reflections in the eyes, I'd say there was a main light which was soft and above the Camera, maybe slightly to one side. Also a second soft light to the r/h side to fill the shadows.
All the highlights and shadows look convincing to me as having been lit by the same lighting scheme. See the ear shadows, highlights on the folded cloth background, etc etc.
It all looks like a genuine non-composite photograph.
The problem Photoshop has it that it's very difficult to successfully overlay one object over another if they have a fuzzy edge i.e. hair. I'm pretty happy with this one.
If it's fake its a beauty.
ps look under the chin, hard shadow from the main light and second soft shadow from the fill light.
I still think its a restored photo, if you can see it on something other than a cell phone or or can enlarge it, the photos on the left there is perfect continuous tone, and on the face on the right it looks like it was retouched, maybe the area was faded or damaged, it's not the continous tone of the hand and the other photo of him.
I'll say that I may have made a mistake in saying photoshop was used, there are other programs if this was done recently, but again, the work might have been done at an earlier date.
If you overlay it against the other photobooth photo the background lines up, and if you fiddle with the lighting you can see a suggestion of the part. From the position of the lines in the cloth, this new photo as presented on the cover is a portion of a larger one, assuming the camera was fixed, and I do not think there is any compositing, just what you would do to restore. YMMV
I agree with Harriet. I copied the book cover then neutralised the sepia colour to make the pictures more alike, but I didn't change any of the content. If there was a tear or a scratch, someone will have taken it out. I imagine the sepia was added to make the book cover look more interesting or something.
If we had both photographs in our hands we could compare them, they should look identical in the original form.
Photobooths came in around 1925 and folks went crazy for them, 8 photos in eight minutes for 25c.
As a professional photographer since 1980, photoshop power-user and someone who has always worked on the sets of big budget films and commercials, I've seen what can be done by make-up artists, prop builders and retouchers and I remain somewhat skeptical. But for me, the bigger question has always been this (I know this is going to seem like sacrilege)... Why the huge deal about RJ anyways? He's awesome, and I love his music and his influence, don't get me wrong. But the whole crossroads and the deal with the Devil legend was attributed to at least 2 other blues players before him, including another Johnson... Tommy (who was portrayed by Chris Thomas King in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou"). And before that, there are numerous other legends about the same deal with other types of artists and performers. Plus, there were lots of other great players and performers before Robert who never got any recognition. Just seems like RJ had the better publicist! Just kidding (kind of), I know he didn't really have a "publicist", at least while he was alive. Again, I'm not diminishing his talent or influence at all... I love his work. I've just never quite understood the all the hype. OK.... flame on!~😏
IMHO There's very little question in my mind that the book and photo are legitmate and lovers of his music are not being involved in something disreputable, though to each his own on the issue of new material, and the money making aspect.
This is Lauterbach's fourth book, he's a respected historian and author in the field, Anderson has been in litigation for the rights to photos of him for a long time, she was an educator. The book was published by respectable and large publishing firm - Hatchette Book Group www.hachettebookgroup.com/
Preston Lauterbach is the author of Bluff City, Beale Street Dynasty, and The Chitlin Circuit, a Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe book of the year. He is a former visiting scholar at Rhodes College and a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Fellow. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.
Annye C. Anderson is a retired educator and administrator of the Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts.
Below is the kickstarter page with both a photo of Anderson and Lauterbach along with a short video of her.
Post by Michael Messer on May 27, 2020 7:16:40 GMT
Gaucho, the hype came later and was mostly due to Stephen LaVere and the Crossroads movie.
RJ is in mine and many other people's opinions, the greatest solo blues artist and was an uneducated musical genius that also had a talent for writing and twisting lyrics around. His best works are more than just a three minute song, they are like a symphony or a ballet in the way they are structured and performed. No other artist has ever achieved anything like it. This was all known about and admired long before Stephen LaVere and other business people got involved. Many of my friends were completely obsessed with his music, as was I, but I don't ever remember anyone even mentioned the crossroads myth, or selling souls to the devil. It was just about the music and that he was probably murdered by a jealous husband of one of his conquests. The whole crossroads legend and "the story" built and grew when the business people saw the potential and started to milk it.
I guess that every genre has one person that stands head and shoulders above everyone else, and in the blues it has to be Robert Johnson. What the industry did with that catalogue is quite frankly an embarrassment, but there it is. Bob Marley's name is in a similar position. Way beyond the music of the genius artist is the myth and what now is an emblem, an icon in the true sense of the word. Marley's face is on clothing, beach towels, car stickers, crockery, etc in every country in the world. I have seen it on beaches in Europe and America, and market places in China and India. None of that has anything to do with his music, Bob's face has become a statement of "I like a smoke" or "I like to make you think I like a smoke" for the masses. Similar to Robert's crossroads and devil stuff and when I was a teenager, Che Guevara, whose face was on millions of tee shirts.
Completely agree with Michael's post above, but would also add that I seem to recall that a widespread perception of RJ amongst writers back in the 60s in eg Blues Unlimited magazine, was that he was the first really 'modern' bluesman, both musically, in eg his pervasive use of the shuffle, & as a self-conscious 'artist' who was aware of his presentation to the public; & therefore, he was hugely influential in the singers/players who came after him, ( Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Robert Junior Lockwood, for example ), & who went electric & carried that legacy north to Chicago & provided one of the key fountainheads for subsequent rock music forms - it also seems to me that this new photo seems to evidence that self-awareness of his, in actually posing quite carefully with the guitar-neck in shot, & showing his chording hand, which I suspect might not've occurred to many of his contemporaries to do; I reckon he'd've been quite a hip & modern-seeming guy to have a chat with, too - hopefully, we'll soon know a little more in that regard..