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Kim Marshall's "True Photograph"

Jeff Marshall reached out to me looking for feedback on Kim Marshall's claimed photograph of Joseph Smith. I think he might come to regret that decision. 

The image they present on their website is not a daguerreotype. Daguerreotypes were made using a glass plate coated in silver. The image they present is on paper, as revealed by the flaking edges and yellow hue. This would likely make their image a Calotype, or an albumen print.


Calotypes were rare, due to strict patents on the process, and the patent wasn't lifted until 1853. They never became a popular photographic method. Albumen prints first became available in 1847, and became popular in the 1850's, especially in the form of "carte de visite" prints. Either method of paper printing would place the production of their image some time after Joseph's death. It is therefore a photo of some image available after Joseph's death, and not Joseph himself.

Kim claims that her image is made from some hypothetical "original daguerreotype." It isn't. The image is an obvious reproduction of the RLDS painting of Joseph, and contains no details that are unique to itself beyond dust and scratches. If anything, it contains much less detail. Once the painting is made black and white, and a white matte is added around the head, you essentially have an exact copy of the Marshall "daguerreotype." See for yourself below.

Marshall 2.gif

I have discussed elsewhere why any image that bears close resemblance to the RLDS painting is unreliable. The RLDS painting is an amateurish, anatomically incorrect representation of what an unknown artist believed Joseph looked like, and was likely produced after his death. It bears little resemblance to the death mask or Sutcliffe Maudsley's portraits, and is of very little value when discussing the question of Joseph's appearance. Photographs of this painting continue to plague the internet claiming to be actual photos of Joseph. Such is the case with Kim Marshall's image.

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