Tuesday 7 November 2023

90th Anniversary of the First Loch Ness Monster Photograph


I first wrote on the famous Hugh Gray photograph back in 2011, a picture that was snapped on a calm day on the Sunday of November 12th 1933. Ninety years on, I still think it is one of the most intriguing pictures taken and especially taking into account the image of the animal head to the right of the photo. In fact, the Loch Ness Centre will be using that 90th year as a reason to host some talks by eyewitnesses on photos they have taken - details are here. Doubtless as other media outlets comment on this anniversary, you may see the image below presented to you.

The superior image copied by a Mr. Heron-Allen at the time was rediscovered by Maurice Burton and passed onto Steuart Campbell. It is shown below and should be the only reference point for this particular debate. It is from this version that the head image at the top was enlarged.

Looking back, my original and main article on this picture can be found at this link. At the time the article focused on the head to the right, which was a bit of a revelation to a lot of folk. But as it turned out, I was merely repeating what others had passed comment on back when the picture hit the headlines. Later on, I posted another article quoting a newspaper piece from 1933 talking about the "head". That article is at this link.

The articles on this blog continued as I looked at the issue of shadows and reflections in the photo used as a sceptical argument against it and was published at this link. Meantime, understandable discontent with the sceptically minded over the labrador dog interpretation surfaced as one broke ranks to promote the idea that it was actually a photo of a swan. I covered that theory in another article at this link.

Finally, the whole thing was brought together, revised, reformatted and published in a journal last year. That was announced at this link while the pdf of that journal article is available here. Twelve years on from that first article, my opinion on it has not changed. I believe it is a picture of the Loch Ness Monster and Hugh Gray was no liar and deceiver as others accuse him of. 

Notice I said "I believe it is" and not "It is" as this subject is all about opinions and not decrees. But I would say that the rediscovery of that head image casting its conical reflection on the water below has only strengthened my opinion of it. So as we consider ninety years of the good, the bad and the ugly in Nessie photographs, let us take a moment to remember the man who started it all - Hugh Gray of Foyers.

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The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com