Thylacine Controversies

Posted by: Nick Redfern on November 14th, 2012

At his website, Tim Squires tells us…

“One of the projects that I have been working on for the last few years is an analysis of the thylacine photographs by Harry Burrell. There is presently a debate surrounding the authenticity of the images, but I believe that I have strong enough evidence to prove that they are genuine.”

Want to take a look at those same images? Read on…

Harry Burrell's captive thylacine with chicken
Harry Burrell’s captive thylacine with chicken

Nick Redfern About Nick Redfern
Punk music fan, Tennents Super and Carlsberg Special Brew beer fan, horror film fan, chocolate fan, like to wear black clothes, like to stay up late. Work as a writer.

One Response to “Thylacine Controversies”

  1. PhotoExpert responds:

    I really did not have enough time to devote to studying all the photographs. However, after a cursory analysis and some common sense, I am with you on this one Nick.

    Freeman writes as if touching up photographs of the time was some form of “intentional and done to be misleading”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Photographers of the time are just like photographers of today. We have digital brushes. We manipulate images so that they look appealing to the viewer. We alter contrast, lighten or darken areas, cover dust that may have been on the lens, etc. By no means are we adjusting the content to be deceptive and change history.

    Obviously Freeman has some credentials. But those credentials do not apply to the photographic field, which would make her an amateur on such matters. She is highly speculative in her assessment. Paint to cover a crack in the tail of a mounted thylacine? Really?

    What Freeman implies in her theories would take more time than actually spending hours photographing a live thylacine. Sometimes the less remarkable and simple answers are the truth.

    Initially speaking, after a some cursory analysis, I would have to agree with you Nick!

    My first thoughts are that Burrell was merely improving the look of his photographs to look more appealing and pleasing to the viewers of the photograph–nothing more. One famous photographer of note, from Maryland, A. Aubrey Bodine, intentionally manipulated his photographs. He died in 1970 and was a photographer since about the age of 14. That would put him in the same time period. He added snow when it was not snowing. He changed the tones of his prints for effect. He would dodge and burn to achieve a desired result. He took photos of the different skies on cloudy days and added those clouds to cloudless photographs. My point is, he did not try to manipulate the authentic subject matter of the photograph to deceive. He just wanted to make it more beautiful or appealing. For Freeman to draw that conclusion is just unfair!

    Secondly, implying that Burrell was feeding into the psychological aspects of the thylacine being a poultry killer is just ridiculous. If you are an asset in protecting nature, why would you go against your own principles of misleading the public with faked photographs of a thylacine preying on a chicken. It makes much more sense that these were somewhat domesticated live thylacines and the owner was feeding them what was readily available. Sometimes the simple answer makes more sense than alluding to some conspiracy theory. For Freeman to imply this about a man who had integrity and love of the natural environment, would be comparable to saying that Bob Gimlin took part in a Bigfoot massacre. Simply ridiculous!

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