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The JFK Photo That Could Have Changed History

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This morning the website TMZ posted "a never-before published photograph which appears to show John F. Kennedy

on a boat filled with naked women -- it's a photo that could have altered world events."

TMZ enlisted the services of a forensic photo expert, Professor Jeff Sedlik, who seemed to vouch for the authenticity of the photo.

In addition, the site claimed two Kennedy biographers believed that it was Kennedy in the photo. The forensic expert appeared to have excellent credentials.


A few hours later, TMZ received an email which forced them to reconsider their thinking.


There's a lesson here somewhere about trusting the opinions of photo experts, self-described or otherwise.

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I looked at the picture before reading the rest of your post. I was "convinced" that it was JFK. It just goes to show that we can't necessarily believe our eyes. It shows how things like this, purposeful or not, an example being the Discovery Channel debacles can cause opinions to be framed in a particular direction that can be completely off the mark. This is a perfect illustration of just such a situation.

Edited by Terry Adams
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When I looked at the photo here, I immediately knew that I had seen it before. What I recognized was the odd posture of the girl jumping into the water. I didn't know where I had seen her before till I read the link about the Playboy spread.

I don't know if I bought that issue of Playboy, but if I did it was just to read the articles.

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TMZ has confirmed that the picture is not what was first purported. As one of the leading tabloid-style internet sites, they are normally

quite careful in their vetting processes.

The rest of the story involves Professor Jeff Sedlik, who lists his credentials here: http://www.photographyexpertwitness.com/

And here: http://www.hgexperts.com/expert-witness.asp?id=39672

There is an accompanying video with the TMZ article where Sedlik explains how he arrived at his conclusions. He is careful

to couch his language in non-absolutes, but he does his best to build a convincing case for authenticity. In light of the actual

provenance of the photo, he comes across as looking quite clumsy.

Listening to Sedlik, I can't help but think of all the black and white photos that were taken in Dealey Plaza and elsewhere,

and the endless discussions of what they all meant.

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