Friday, April 22, 2016

This is an image from the Altgens reenactment that was done in 2012. And, as far as I know, this is the only attempt ever made to recreate the figures in the Altgens doorway.

I had the surrogate for the Black Man turn and face the east wall, which was done to duplicate what we see in the Altgens photo, even though I don't think it's legit. Notice several things: First, I, as Doorman, am far away from him, and no part of me is in front of him in the picture. That would be impossible because I'm too far away. Even if I reached for him, I couldn't do it, and obviously, Doorman, wasn't reaching for him. Second, being turned the way he is definitely puts him more in view. If he was turned the other way, towards the west wall, as we see the Black Man doing in the Wiegman film, he wouldn't stick out as much. But, here's the biggest thing: you see that handrail there? That wasn't there in 1963. And it's several inches out from the wall. So, you can't get flush against the wall anymore, the way the Black Man was doing in the Wiegman film. But nevertheless, notice that the column is partially covering him up. The back of his head isn't in view. His right shoulder is completely out of view, and so is most of his right arm. 

 Now, what would have been the result if that handrail wasn't there, and he was flush against the wall, and I mean leaning against it like this:

And let's also assume that he was turned and looking as we see above. From Altgens point of view, how much of his face would have been seen?

Here's another shot in which he's even more cut off- despite those advantages of him being turned east and being farther from the wall. 

Don't be confused. Those aren't his legs coming down. They belong to another guy. But notice here that he is more covered by the column. Again: if he was flush against the wall- and note that it looks like he is because we don't see a gap- he would have been much more covered up.  And then if he was turned the other direction, I believe it would have taken his face out of view completely.

Unfortunately, we can't test this today because that handrail is there. 

If that doesn't seem like a whole heck of a lot to you, note that there is a lot of leverage involved. 

You can't do that anymore. But, do my eyes, it looks like he is leaning against that pillar, that he is actually transferring his weight and leaning against it. It is impossible to do that now. This shot of me climbing the steps provides a good view of the handrails. 

So, here's what we know. 

1. We know that in the experiment, the Black Man was partially covered up even though he wasn't standing that close to the wall and he was turned to the east. He was still not completely visible. 

2. If he was flush against the wall and also turned towards it, as in Wiegman, it definitely would have reduced his visibility. That is a given; an absolute fact. The only question is how much. 

3. Because of the leverage involved, where a couple inches has a huge effect, it may have taken his head out of Altgens' photo completely, assuming he was in the same position as in the Wiegman film.

4. From the standpoint of behavior, logistics, timing, and everything else, there is no reason to think the Black Man wasn't in the same position and doing the same thing as in Wiegman. There just isn't the time to allow for a radical repositioning. Plus, he seemed pretty fixed the way he was in Wiegman over 4 seconds time.

The point is that I think the reenactment that I did supports my hypothesis. And that's because we are seeing the beginning of the process where he is partially being covered up.

If I could have turned him correctly (according to Wiegman) and snugged him up against the wall, we'd be seeing very little of him and probably none of his head. I have a high degree of confidence about that. 

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