THOUGHT PHOTOGRAPHY: A PHOTOGRAPHER’S ACCOUNT
by Lawrence Fried, President of the American Society of Media Photographers, The Society of Photographers in Communications.
Lawrence Fried’s photographs have appeared in such publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Woman’s Day, Paris Match, Vogue, Holiday, and Newsweek, and Fried is the recipient of the Overseas Press Club Photography Award and seven different awards from Popular Photography magazine. He is Director Of Photography for the Image Bank, Inc., New York, New York.
Because of the impromptu nature of the “thought photography” session between Lawrence Fried and Uri Geller, the following report cannot be taken as positive proof of the occurrence of a paranormal event. Fried’s account of what he and his two colleagues witnessed in Geller’s Manhattan apartment on a day in mid-1973 is an anecdote at best. Fried, an experienced photographer, is convinced that Geller could not have removed the lens cap from the camera to take the “thought” image that appeared on the developed film. The lens cap had been tightly taped on; Fried (and his two assistants) had watched Geller throughout the session, photographing him with another camera, and when Geller returned the camera he had been using, it showed no signs of having been tampered with. The circumstances under which the film was developed also convinced Fried that Geller could not have used trickery at the developing stage of the photograph. Fried recounts all of these things in his brief report, which is included in this book because of Fried’s unimpeachable professionalism and expertise with a camera.
Published for the first time, with the permission of the author.
IN MID-1973, I received a photographic assignment from Human Behavior magazine to photograph the Israeli psychic Uri Geller. I had not met Mr. Geller before this meeting took place, and, in fact, was not familiar with his psychic abilities. At one point during our photographic session, Geller mentioned, casually, that he had once or twice before been able to project his own image on film through a completely closed camera. He was eager to try to do it again.
I suggested that I put the lens cap on one of my lenses and cover it with tape to make it entirely light-tight and then have Geller attempt to take his own photograph. He agreed to make the attempt. He said he had never done it with color film before, so I put color in the camera. I fastened the lens cap very securely onto a 5o-mm Nikkor lens and then, using generous amounts of photographer’s gaffer tape (a two-inch-wide, silvery, clothlike tape), I put two complete layers of said tape across the lens cap, overlapping at least an inch onto the barrel of the lens. I then wound another long piece of tape around the lens barrel itself, covering the ends of the first two layers that had gone across the lens cap. I immediately handed the Nikon camera to Geller and with another Nikon proceeded to photograph him.
Geller held the camera at arm’s length, pointing it at his head and tripping the shutter. (See Plate 47.) He repeated this at various distances from his head until he had the camera pressed directly against his forehead. He did this many times until the entire roll of 35-mm exposures had been “exposed.” All the time Geller was tripping the shutter, I was photographing him. My two assistants, Hank Gans and Laurel Gallagher, were present, standing on either side of me and never taking their eyes off Geller. In addition, there was also a reporter from the New York Post in the room at the time. No one else was present.
I took the camera from Geller’s hands upon completion of the experiment and personally removed the roll of film. I marked it to keep it separate from the rest of the exposed film and put the roll in an inside pocket of my jacket. We packed our equipment and left Geller’s apartment. At no time after I loaded the camera before the start of the experiment was I separated from that camera. It was never out of my hands until the second I handed it to Geller, from which time I never took my eyes off it and was never more than three to five feet away from it. This can be corroborated by my two assistants.
The film (high-speed Ektachrome) was sent to Berkey-K&L Laboratory, in New York, for processing, with instructions that the processor not cut the roll or mount any slides if there were any pictures on the film. Mr. Geller, incidentally, was never advised as to where my film was to be processed.
The next morning I received the processed roll from the lab and opposite frame marker number 10, on the edge of the roll, was an image of Geller. It was somewhat out of focus and slightly underexposed, but unmistakably a photograph of Geller taken at the exact spot where the experiment had been conducted. (See Plate 48.) When I finally removed the tape from the lens that Geller had used, there was absolutely no indication that it had been disturbed in any manner whatsoever.
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