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June 2021

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  • June 2021

    A belated review of The First Jack the Ripper Victim Photographs by Robert McLaughlin.

    Wanted to read this for a while. In theory a short book (under 200 pages) but the quality far exceeds the quantity! This book makes a fairly niche and side issue on JtR phenomenally interesting, and reading this book made me think of loads of ideas and perspectives that I hadn't given much detailed thought previously.

    Robert McLaughlin delves into the history of the publication of the images taken of the victims, having identified the first publication of the "famous" MJK image. The first half of the book explores the manner of the initial publication of this in France. It's a stimulating read, and I have to say initially I felt we were on to a gold mine of new information. Robert McLaughlin however also wisely and concisely elaborates on and dissects the information available so well.

    The second half of the book is where things really get going. We explore the history of the role of the police photographer, speculate on who this may have been. This develops into wider discussion as to how many photo's there may be, and where they may be found. There is a particularly enlightening section on copies and re-prints, and there is a fascinating, and eloquent explanation of generations of photographs, and the quality of the reproduction. This in particular was so well done by Robert McLaughlin. It made the whole section riveting, but was so clear, it kept this reader engaged and understanding the importance of the discussion.

    On a related note, the chapter comparing the different images is a tour de force! I hadn't picked up on the amount of differences Robert McLaughlin picks up on in this chapter. So well done.

    I've seen rumours an update is possible. I'd be so all over that if it happened. Robert McLaughlin tuned a very everyday aspect of the crimes and evidence available into an absolutely fascinating and thought provoking subject, giving me a lot of food for thought.
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