The information highway can and does contain a lot a detours. For researchers it can be a slippery road to travel. In writing this blog, I have done my share of research and have come across much misinformation and even some outright attempts to deceive. You can’t always believe what you read or see.
Richard C. Miller began his career as a photographer when he submitted a photograph of his baby daughter to The Saturday Evening Post and it was not only accepted, but made the cover of the magazine. His met Brett Weston, son of Edward Weston, during the war and they became friends and photographed together. After the war, Miller worked for various magazines and around 1946 photographed a young model named Norma Jean Dougherty, soon to change her named to Marilyn Monroe, selling the photo to True Romance magazine. Miller went on to photograph a wide variety of subjects including some Hollywood work in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. During the making of Giant, Miller shot the above photo of James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor in Dallas, relaxing during the making of George Stevens’ epic modern day western.
The photograph is all over the web and many are probably familiar with it though few know the name of the artist behind the lens. Recently, on one of the photo sharing sites, I came across an alternate version of Miller’s photo (below). Someone doctored, photo shopped, altered, call it what you will, adding Marilyn Monroe into the shot. At first, I was wowed. I then realized this photo looked familiar and there was something strange about it. I have seen it before, but without Marilyn in the photo.
Once getting over the wow factor, and looking more carefully, you can tell the inclusion of Marilyn’s image is not very well done. The perspective is all wrong. She looks way too small. Her legs especially don’t look right and the black shadow on MM’s shoulder and Dean’s leg is not natural. Additionally, compare her image to Taylor’s, who the more you look at her looks like a giant compared to Monroe.
Like wildfire, the photo shopped image, this and others, spread across the internet showing up on Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and elsewhere with “fans” pledging their undying admiration. The lie become a fact in the minds of many. And in today’s world, it spreads just as quickly as that wildfire.
The point of this is, when writing or posting pictures, be sure your sources are accurate as possible. We all make mistakes, and we have all been taken in by false information. Part of your research is verification of what you see or read. I have read books, biographies, where the same so called facts have differed between authors. When I find myself in this situation, I generally try to mention it in my article in some way that sources differ on what really happened. It can be a slippery slope that can back and haunt you.
If you are interested in seeing more of Richard C. Miller’s work. Here is a link.