blog, Blog post, Documentary, opinion, PDBarton, Photo manipulation, Prince Andrew, Royalty
Comments 7

That picture. Is it real? You decide.

This is my opinion.

Let me start by saying…

  1. I am no supporter of the Royals in general and Andrew in particular.
  2. I am not attempting to prove his innocence or otherwise in relation to the charges made against him in relation to his association with a convicted sex offender – if that’s what they are.
  3. I am not an expert on the practice of photo manipulation. I’ve done a lot. I’ve also driven many miles in over 50 years of driving but that does not mean I’m an expert driver either. What it does mean is I have a lot of experience of both.

What I am looking at and discussing here is whether or not I believe the picture in question.

Let me explain the issues I believe, for me at least, make the image questionable.


The tonal range of each individual does not  look right, one against the other
The lady on the right looks right in relation to the room the image was taken in.
The other two look out of place.
The use of flash tends to make for a uniformity of tone across subjects, especially if they are in the same plane in relation to the taking lens and at the same distance from the simple, single light source, and in this case they are. So, why the difference?

Andrew, to the left and the central female again seem to be at variance. Andrew looks  slightly sharper than the central female, Once more, with the use of flash, the tendancy is to shut the lens down slightly, increasing the depth of field, making people in focus even if they are at a slightly different distance from the camera. However both Andrew and the central female are at the same distance from the camera and so should both be sharp, or otherwise.
The disparity between the image of Andrew and that of the centre female could even indicate towards the images being taken by different cameras, with differing resolutions.

Shadows i.

The shadow cast by the knob on the newell post (Position 1. in the picture) indicated the flash was positioned above and to the left of the taking lens. This position appears to be confirmed by the shadows cast by the central female  on the background (Position 5 and 6 in the picture) and of the shadow cast by the right hand female against the background (Position 8 in the picture) – although I feel we should question those shadows too. See D. below.

Shadows ii.

Andrew, to the left, seems to cast no shadow at all against the wall behind him. To achieve this the flash must be held above the taking lens and in line with the subject  so as to cast the shadow behind the person, and hiding it as it were. We have seen above from the Newell post argument , however, the  flash was to the left and higher than the taking lens. Both cannot be true.

And yet there is a darkening along the side of his face (This usually indicates to me the image has been cut from an image taken somewhere where  he was  standing against a dark background). And, if that were so, and he therefore had little light to that side of his face, and the central female was standing next to him, how come she is lit  well and fairly uniformly?  Why is the side of her face nearest to Andrew not darker? Both cannot be right.
Also, the reflection of the central figures body and clothing should have been enough to’ fill’ the ‘darkness’ to the side of his face next to her, thereby reducing/removing it.

Were the images of Andrew and the central female taken in different places? I’m inclined to believe so.

Shadows iii.

The shadows cast by the central female (Position 5 and 6) seem very solid and of a constant density and size(Particularly at position 6) .

Note. the shape of the body of the central female at position 6 looks to be a straight line from just above the hand around her waist up to her armpit. That looks artificial. That artificiality is reflected in the shadow that part of the body casts against the wall.
It looks like a straight line mask was used in order to introduce that shadow.

The hand around the waist of the central female also casts a shadow. That shadow looks clumsy, and it continues  to the right and down her leg, somehow interfering with her hand which may or may not be on her hip. This does not seem to work at all.

Shadows iv.

Given where the flash seems to be positioned as mentioned in the Newell post argument above, i.e. high and to the left of the taking lens, Why is there not a shadow cast by the central females arm (the one with the watch) onto the the white top of the right hand female?

Shadows v.

At position 3 on the photo, you can see the white of the wall behind and  through the slight gap between Andrew and the central female. Surely this would be black shadow given the position of the flash indicated by the Newell post argument. Similarly, just above that small gap, and after a break, the gap continues, showing what appears to be the blue shirt arm. That is also well lit. That is just not possible using the Newell post argument.

The trousers.

The crop of the trousers at position 2 in the photo, seems very unnatural. They seem too angular. Does cloth fall like that? Is this just a sloppy crop?


There are simply too many indications on this image to confirm it is the original image. Quite the contrary in fact. It appears to be a construct which, at first glance seems right. However the law of physics says light travels in straight lines, yet in this image it does not appear to have done so. I do not believe this to be a reflection, or indeed, proof, of the particular reality it wishes to convey.

There is ONLY ONE WAY to determine the real truth, and that is to see the original file from which it was printed. The RAW file should tell you whether or not I have this all wrong.

To repeat myself “I am no expert”. Use your own eye’s and question the image. Look past the superficiality and see if it passes your own test for truth.

Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre), the female at the centre of this image, states it is an original picture, seen and verified as such by the FBI. Against that sort of verification, who am I to disagree, and yet…

Show us the original files. I would be happy to be proven wrong.

Lincoln 2019


  1. PDBarton says

    Virginia Roberts says the FBI has said it’s an original picture. I don’t know of any report on it but I confess I haven’t looked. My piece is just about my opinion on the image. It wasn’t meant to be a forensic discussion on the whole issue, consequently I have not researched the why’s and wherefore.
    Best regards


    • Ah … so no statement. Yet!
      Appreciate your take on the photo. In light of all the fake news that abounds, it certainly gives one pause for thought.
      Based on the image as presented, however, I must say it does look a bit suspect.
      Then again, what on earth would Roberts expect to get out this by lying?

      ”Curiouser and curiouser” ( said Alice).


  2. PDBarton says

    Thanks for your comment.
    It is all very odd. I have no idea what Roberts could hope to be gained by her lying. At some point any hidden truth would come out don’t you think? And that would be devastating to her and her reputation.
    The machinations and intrigue in all of this are way above my head. My interest is simply what I see in that particular picture. Or. I suppose to be more accurate, what I don’t see.



    • There is also the possibility that by naming high profile people – she mentioned there are others – she could well be painting a metaphorical target on her back. Not that she should keep quiet about the horrendous and devastating abuse she was subject to, but I wonder if she has given any thought to her own safety?

      Will the truth ‘out’, I wonder?


  3. smogmonster says

    I haven’t followed this story at all (I’m not a royal watcher), but after all the fuss did watch the Newsnight interview last night (not as bad as many have made out) and subsequently looked more closely at the photo. I too felt the flash shadows were inconsistent – especially the insufficient cast by Prince Andrew’s farside collar on the wall behind. I think as well the potential cropping around Prince Andrews hair line and even the central female’s (esp above her ear) look suspicious – zooming in on the best image I could find, there’s no sign of the pixelation that a stray hair will produce (even accounting for this not being a first generation image). But where her hair comes into contact with his shirt, you do find that blurred pixelation. Quite how many images were used to construct this one photo is unclear, but I think the evidence is that it is more than one. Well done for your analysis – took me a while to find anyone who has done this, certainly not the mainstream media who seem to be in a feeding frenzy, for whatever reason. Would be great to reconstruct this photo and see what comes out!


    • PDBarton says

      Thanks for commenting. Given just how many people are looking at this in the media ( I see on the newsstands this morning, at least one redtop is carrying the image front page) and the combined abilities of their art departments to “Photo amend”, I wonder why this has not been picked up. Maybe the rags might enjoy Andrew in the bloodbath – and yes there is a certain shardenfrude to it – I would have thought there may have been somebody saying “Hold up here”. But no, there isn’t. Also given how much of our money the Royals spend, you’d have thought they would have bought somebody in who could do a better job than me at making plain the dissembling attempt of this flawed image.

      Thanks again for your kind comment.


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