Sunday, 22 January 2017

Look behind you

I've been rummaging through a couple of shoeboxes of old photographs I took over when my mother died last year. Amongst the familiar faces, I came across the above photograph of a young girl sat on a bench within one of those municipal shelters you often find in rain-soaked Britain. The shelter looks vaguely familiar to and I'd hazard a guess that it may have been along the seafront in Hove or Brighton. The young girl? I've really no idea but, if I'm correct in assuming that it was taken in Brighton, she may well have been one of my father's cousins. One of Rita, Audrey or Zelie Kent?
Look closely and a mysterious head appears within the lower left frame of the window behind the shelter. Could this, perhaps, be someone who had been forced out of this photo opportunity but was intent on leaving his mark on recorded history nevertheless? Perhaps it was Cousin Cyril? Or maybe even my father? It was the sort of thing he'd do.

Digital techniques allow us, of course, to selectively enlarge that part we are interested in, in order to obtain more clues as to who this interloper may be. An initial attempt provides us with few clues - merely an out-of-focus shape, reminiscent of a human head.

Technology, however, is nothing if it is not smart these days, and there are many software programmes available that will automatically enhance images of such poor quality. Making use of one such programme I recently obtained from a Russian supplier, I came up with something rather surprising, and not a little sinister. I will say no more other than you saw it here first. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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