People always have the weirdest images of Joseph Smith added to their posts or dominating the covers of their books. I decided to go looking to see if I could find a picture that made me relatively happy.
In doing so, I tumbled across Kim Marshall’s blog, discussing a 2nd generation unedited photographic print copied from the original daguerreotype of Joseph Smith from 1840-1844. She clearly marks the images on her website as copyrighted, but the painting at the head of this post is obviously based on that original daguerreotype.
[Update – I now agree with those who assert that Kim Marshall’s photographic print is a photo of the painting, though a much nicer photo of the painting than the “photo” Joseph’s son submitted to the Library of Congress, the one with weirdly chopped off hair that is often used in articles talking about Joseph by those outside the faith. I don’t doubt Kim Marshall’s sincerity. However, for a fun tour of what one can do with photoshop, check out these images of Rowan Atkinson suggesting a lifespan extending centuries.]
Some of the fun things:
- Joseph looks like a wonderful man in the unedited picture. Edited versions of this picture look somewhat creepy, and the profile pictures painted during Joseph’s lifetime look rather uninspiring and stiff.
- Careful examination of the photo, as Kim Marshall has done, shows that Joseph’s left eye shows scarring, consistent with the way his left eyelid to droops slightly and his left eye turns inward slightly, a condition called Esotropia. This explains why we always see his right profile in drawings done during life.
- A detailed analysis of the painting shows that it was likely painted by Selah Van Sickle in 1845, from the photographic image.
- The photograph shows the visual evidence in life of the injuries we can discern in the pictures of Joseph’s skull.
Perhaps this is old news to some of you, but I live out east where information of interest to Mormons isn’t broadcast on local TV channels (not that people watch much TV anymore…).