Last night, we saw the American version of the 2004 Thai horror flick “Shutter”. We saw the original a couple of months ago, I liked the plot, but the lack of sub-titles made the experience lacking. Although there were slight variations in the story line, both films have the same basic plot — spirits can be captured on camera.
One of the things that caught my attention while watching “Shutter” last night was the mention of “spirit photography”. I know that there are a lot of ghost photos out there that purportedly captured the “ghosts” unintentionally. See the slideshow in the video below. You may also check out Photography Museum and the controversial history of spirit photography in Prairie Ghosts.
The other interesting thing is the observation (an obvious one, actually, but not too many people realize the significance) that you can’t fake the appearance of ghosts in Polaroid photos (you know, the instant photos that don’t need developing) but on film any kind of manipulation is possible. Faking ghost photos is even easier with digital photography with the aid of photo editors like Adobe Photoshop.
The obvious question is whether every cloudy or blurry object on every Polaroid photo can reasonably be considered a ghost. Making images appear on a piece of paper is a complex process and there are a number of reasons why blurry images can appear in a photo. Camera shake, reflections, condition of the camera lens and the expiration date on the self-developing film are only some of them.
The producers of “Shutter” are asking people to contribute their ghosts photos on the site. If you’re trying to make up your mind whether to believe or not, “Chasing phantoms on camera” might be an interesting read. I’m a real Doubting Thomas by nature so until I personally experience capturing some unexplainable images on my camera, I’ll reserve my judgment.