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Perception Vs. Reality

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  • Perception Vs. Reality

    I'm too lazy to go searching to see if I did this before,so here goes...

    During the course of our mutual study of the Case, we've seen numerous photographs and read just as many descriptions of individuals and events in the WM.

    What I wanted to set up here is a thread for discussing the impact of some items ( photos,articles,etc) and how it affects our individual perception of the individual or event it relates to.

    Lets start with the photograph of Montague Druitt.

    At first glance or even after a few glances...Druitt gives the impression ( and this is my perception,of course) of being a scholarly young man...somewhat thin and neatly groomed.

    This obviously is just one photograph and is by no means the "way' he was all the time. Yet, I think we tend ( my perception) to always see him that way.

    Do you get my drift? Do you have something in mind as well?

    Whats your view on how photographs or even caricatures ( Kosminski as an example ) affects us on how we percieve these individuals to have been? Not that we use this perception when we research the individuals, but only in how we see them.
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  • #2
    An interesting notion there How.

    Kellys picture has obviously skewed our perception of her.

    The Filthy Sod Chapman is one fellow who's picture probably does him justice and yet eveil fecker that he seems in his piccies .... he still had more success with the ladies than one would think he would get given his piicture making him look like a woman killing nutter so even though his picture fits what we might would seem it does not give a full desscription of the man he was.

    Then again I imagine that if there was a picture of Barnett or GH or whoever, they to would look like dastards in the way that men in B+W photos with taches and bowler hats often tend to do. It is like the way one cannot look at a picture of WWI generals with their gaiters and whipcord and not think "stuck up bounder and a military failure" even though many of them werent by all accounts.

    Unfortuntely for Monty....I still think he looks like a shifty shirt lifter or at least someone who got the sticky end of someones wicket at school. His picture only reinforces my opinion that he was fired for been a bit pervy and yet many pics of willowy young Victorian chaps look that way for some reason.

    This is an interesting topic. I think an argument could be made that we cannot view many of the photos objectively as we are subject to ingrained opinions through TV and the like. Abberlines taches in sketches probably go some way to some peoples opinions that he wasnt the great copper at all simply because they imagine him bristling and harrumphing into his facial hair or something.

    This is going to bother me.......which is of course wht forums are for.

    As opposed to arse.



    • #3
      Originally posted by Mr. Poster View Post
      Abberlines taches in sketches probably go some way to some peoples opinions that he wasnt the great copper at all simply because they imagine him bristling and harrumphing into his facial hair or something.
      I've never been particularly impressed by Abberline at all, but that has nothing to do with his oversized whiskers and moustach but rather with some of his actions and personal judgments in connection with the case.
      Quite a lot of men looked like that during the Victorian age, and I can't say that look in itself reminds me of incompetence as such.


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies so far,gentlemen...

        Cognizant of the fact that the photos are invariably about the photo of George Chapman that Lars mentioned?

        Good choice Lars.
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        • #5
          Hi ho Glenn

          I could I suppose, if the weather was not so warm, argue that, in general, the depiction of Victorian middle aged men in the media of the past few decades has centered on two types:

          1. The smart chap - dastard or hero. Usually thin if not cadaverous, less whiskered, no harrumphing. Basil Rathbone if you will, a young Peter Cushing. Sherlock Holmes et al. Jeremy Brett.

          2. The whiskey nosed genial, slightly plump, bewhiskered nice-but-relatively-dim chap. Dr Watson type. The perennial second fiddle. The Nigel Bruce depiction.

          Now I do not know about you....but there is a generation that could be argued to view plump men with taches in Victorian London crime settings as ....Watson-esque and not in a sharpest knife in the box manner.



          • #6
            HI ho How

            Well if Chapman had been posed and told to smile for the camera.....he must have been a right scary bastard when he wasnt in his best "Cheeeeeeeeeeeese!"
            picture-taking mode.

            Still........given he is a psychotic looking gimp and, one hears all the time, that his English was bad......he was a hit with the ladees.

            Hard to figure it all out. Maybe his mainbrace or jib was always at full mast or something.

            Or he could speak English enough to be charming. Unless someone wants to come out with the old guff "Ah yes Mr P., but that photo was taken 10 years later" because I doubt someone who looks that sulphurous looked any less menacing 10 years previous.



            • #7
              Originally posted by Mr. Poster View Post
              I doubt someone who looks that sulphurous looked any less menacing 10 years previous.
              "Menacing", MrP? I've always thought that Kłosowski looked pretty similar to my great-grandfather, who was a fine chap all round:


              ...this was taken around 1917. Many men in the Victorian/Edwardian age would have looked pretty similar, I'd have thought.


              • #8
                I have always thought that the man we discuss would not fit the mould or image we tend to have of your average LVP man, in that he would rather stand out from the crowd, much like Oscar did, his abberant and abhorrent behaviour confirmed and satisfied by the disguise he adopted to placate and please society.
                When met with on the street in situations of no consequence he would have been unremarkable, but placed in the dock of a court on some serious charge much comment would have been made of his remarkable and singular appearance.
                For just like Oscar he would have had his stage then, and played the role for all it was worth.
                The trick was to shift our perception of reality.


                • #9
                  I like the idea that Howard presented on this old thread.

                  Was there a photograph of a Whitechapel Mysteries historical figure that was discovered (and publicly shared) that had an effect on your previous perception of that person in the photo?

                  Good question. As for me, Neal Shelden's presentation of Annie Chapman's wedding photo had a positive effect. To finally view a Ripper victim enjoying a happy day in her life, being sober, looking healthy and proper, etc . Yes, there was a lot of satisfaction in seeing that. TV documentaries and mortuary photos depict the Ripper victims in their final tragic moments of life. But the wedding photo that Neal presented provided an aura of dignity to one of the victims.


                  • #10
                    For me it’s the photo of Charles Lechmere.

                    I used to picture him as a comical cockney type who might easily forget he was wearing his apron in court and give the coroner the name his mates knew him by at work rather than his real name. Seeing the photo of him was one step in my journey away from that caricature.

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