Tag Archives: Bargain Barons

Photo Experts of Convenience Juke Identity Theft

Seeking authentication experts of convenience doomed Justin Whiting & his fake Jesse James photo to failure.

Justin Whits-fake Jesse James
Justin Whting and his fake Jesse James tintype

 

When Justin Whiting’s “7£ eBay find” was rejected by the Jesse James family as a fake image of Jesse James, Whiting turned to experts of convenience. Whiting believed the experts he chose would provide the validation required to bring his tintype to auction. His experts would provide Whiting a path to the financial windfall he expected.

Whiting’s experts of convenience, however, fell far short of the task. Flaws hidden in their backgrounds and abilities proved to equal Justin Whiting’s flaws of expectation.

Rejected by Jesse James Family

In email salted by bad grammar, misspellings, and chronic badgering, Whiting repeatedly plagued the James family’s historian, Eric F. James, with conflicting claims related to several old photographic images Whiting owned. Once Whiting settled on the best image he thought was Jesse James, he requested the family historian’s concurrence without offering justification or reason.

In short order, James informed Whiting his image, in fact, was not an authentic image of Jesse James. James further advised Whiting that any effort to secure an authentication would be a waste of time, effort, and money.

Whiting abruptly switched to other images in his possession that he also claimed was Jesse James. Whiting’s incoherence quickly turned into an annoyance for James. The irritation turned into exasperation when Whiting informed James he would consult Lois Gibson for an authentication of his image.

Rejected by Lois Gibson

Lois Gibson was known to James as the haywire authentication artist in the Bob Ford/Jesse James Photo Hoax of 2017. James warned Whiting to be wary of whom he associated with, lest Whiting acquire the reputation of a con artist himself.

Months past before Whiting returned to James. When he did, Whiting complained that Lois Gibson did not believe his image was a match for Gibson’s Jesse James image authenticated in her hoax. Why would they, James questioned. You can’t compare a fake image of Jesse James to another fake image of Jesse James that was authenticated as a match for yet another fake image of Jesse James. Whiting’s rabbit hole of foolishness was laughable.

Regardless any reason, or the lack thereof, Lois Gibson offered to authenticate Whiting’s image for $750 plus an additional $750 to authenticate Whiting’s comparison image.

Billy the Kid by Lois Gibson
“Authentication” of Billy the Kid by Lois Gibson.

Whiting told James he would align with James in branding Gibson a fraud if only James would approve his image. At this point, James ceased responding to Whiting’s chronic email.

Accepted by Experts of Convenience

In time, Whiting returned once more to James to announce he had found an authenticator more expert than the Jesse James family. His authentication expert accepted Whiting’s image as a match to an image of Jesse James known by James. Shortly, Whiting expected, his image would be fully authenticated in writing so he could proceed to the auction market.

William Dunniway

William Dunniway is not an expert in Jesse James photography. He is not an expert in photo image authentication, nor is he trained in any photographic forensic science. This did not stop Justin Whiting from seeking William Dunniway as his second expert after Lois Gibson to authenticate his fake image of Jesse James.

William “Will” Dunniway gave up historical re-enacting to pursue his interest in wet collodion photography

Will Dunniway
William “Will” Dunniway gave up historical re-enacting to pursue his interest in wet collodion photography

For 25 years, Will Dunniway, as he is known, was a re-enactor of history. Today, Will no longer does re-enactments. Instead, his time is devoted to his interest in wet collodion photography, an old style of photographic image creation that differs entirely from the tintype photography of Justin Whiting’s image.

Like Justin Whiting, inexperience in the forensic science of image authentication did not stop Will Dunniway from stepping beyond the boundaries of his abilities. When he did, Dunniway exposed his own deficiencies.

Dunniway’s Shortcomings

Recently, Will Dunniway was called upon to assess an image claimed to include Billy the Kid.  The National Geographic Society produced a documentary about the find.

The image since has become highly controversial and has divided the community of western historians. Dunniway’s opinion revealed the limitations of his expertise. 

True West Magazine reported Dunniway’s Billy the Kid findings.

The tintype itself was analyzed by noted wet-plate collodion photographer Will Dunniway…He date-stamped the croquet photo to a plate made between 1877-1881. The chemical process used to make the plate tells the tale. Residue and a close look at the media material itself is consistent with photographs made in that time frame. Dunniway also confirms McWilliams findings that clothing worn in the period is correct.”’ 

Such was Will Dunniway’s sole findings.

player of croquet game
Does this tintype of a croquet game include Billy the Kid?

Will Dunniway suggested that period clothing and an estimated date of 1877-1881 says the third person from the left is Billy the Kid.

Of Dunniway’s two findings – one, the date stamp of a collodion image compared to a tintype, and two, the identification of period clothing – neither of these findings authenticate anything regarding the primary question. Does the image include Billy the Kid?

Dunniway’s Expert “Authentication” for Whiting

Wisely, Dunniway begins the written affidavit of his findings for Whiting’s Jesse James tintype. He boldly states, “…I am NOT a facial recognition expert.”

This statement alone should have disqualified Dunniway as an expert in forensic science suited to assess and write an image authentication. Any opinion Dunniway might produce was doomed to be rendered unworthy.

Will Dunniway affadvit
Affidavit of authentication by Will Dunniway lacks any statement of training and experience in formal forensic science analysis or motorization. The opinion letter is accompanied by a business card, promotional advertising, references copies of Whiting’s claimed image, and a meaningless imprimatur stamp. The document is not notarized.

Regardless, Dunniway persisted in Whiting’s authentication charade. Dunniway stated, “The age of the image was about 1861-1862.” He offered no explanation for his declaration.

Again without evidence, Dunniway speculated as if fact, about Whiting’s comparison image. Dunniway stated, “It [the comparison image] appears to have been printed of a collodion glass negative…” Then Dunniway added one more  disqualifying pointless absurdity, “This is only conjecture…”

In conclusion, Dunniway’s imagination took flight like that of Justin Whiting. “I believe it was taken on the same day by the same photographer. This is very evident by the face, hair cut [sic], jacket, shirt, and tie that this is the same image of Jesse James at 14 years old.” How this imaginary deduction is made, Dunniway left entirely unexplained.

In the end, Dunniway excused himself and his valueless declarations. “I recommend that Justin follow up with a facial forensic comparison…” With that, the buck was passed from Justin Whiting’s second expert to his third expert, Kent Gibson.

Kent Gibson

A public watchdog, says Kent Gibson “has never met a photo he didn’t authenticate as a famous person. His most famous pratfall was the bogus Amelia Earhart.”

Under the name of Forensic Audio, Gibson markets himself as “Certified Forensic Audio Examiner.” His impressive show business resume boasts abundant credentials limited to the field of audio.

Nothing in Gibson’s resume reveals any training, expertise, or experience in forensic science, historical photography, photographic analysis, or history.

Integrity Issues

Like many in show business, Gibson prefers to put forward a younger, more attractive image of himself. The photo of Gibson that appears on his website is a much younger version of the middle-aged persona one meets in person.

Kent Gibson claims to be a photographic expert.
Kent Gibson past, as he advertises himself, & present when met today

Gibson also fudges the location of his business. On his website, Gibson advertises, “My studio laboratory is in the Hollywood Hills.” His actual address, that appears on the same web page, exposes Kent Gibson’s fundamental difficulty with veracity.

Kent Gibson’s studio is not located among the glamorous, star-studded, multi-million dollar mansions and estates of the Hollywood Hills with its stunning views and coveted seclusion. Gibson’s actual studio and home are in the workaday neighborhood of the Hollywood “flats.” Originally populated by crowded orange and avocado groves, Gibson’s neighborhood today is beset by heavy traffic, closely knit homes, and apartment buildings.

511 North Orange Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Home studio of Kent Gibson, not in the Hollywood Hills as Gibson says, but in the less prestigious Hollywood “flats”

Whenever Kent Gibson is shown an old photographic image, Gibson exits the neighborhood of reality and enters a world of fantasy.  Like Justin Whiting, Gibson dreams of discovering the historic photo that will make his name as popular as a celebrity subject he attaches to it. No explanation or justification for this is required in Gibson’s world of expertise.

Photo Identification Slip-ups

Despite his lack of scientific forensic credentials, Kent Gibson already has established a record of highly questionable photo “authentications.” One attached him with Will Dunniway to the disputable Billy the Kid. The other, more egregiously, finds Kent Gibson declaring an unknown image as the lost aviatrix Amelia Earhart. His Earhart declaration has been brutally disproved.

Claimed Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett
Billy the Kid (L) & Pat Garrett (R) as “authenticated” by Will Dunniway and Kent Gibson

In 2017, the New York Times published a fake photo story, typical headline and all, that claimed Will Dunniway and Kent Gibson had authenticated Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett in the image above. The image owner, Frank Abrams previously had hawked the image as including Jesse James. Not finding believers in the claim to Jesse James, Abrams turned to Gibson and Dunniway to produce the altered claim of the Kid and Pat Garrett.

About the same time, Gibson’s authentication of the Billy the Kid croquet image was debunked. Gibson had claimed to discover the location where the image was taken. The location and timeline of the image were disproved. Amateur debunkers became more expert in debunking than the experts were in authenticating.

The image’s owner was revealed to be a shopper of photo experts. One abettor was a coin dealer and auctioneer, who stood to benefit by the sale of the artifact.  Other auctioneers previously had passed on the artifact.

An unwitting abettor was the  National Geographic Channel that was conned into producing a documentary of the discovery. Embarrassment followed for the Society when the discovery was debunked.

Gibson’s expertise in the artifice was downgraded after his Billy the Kid location identification was found to be an impossibility. Gibson had to admit his identification was not good enough to hold up in a court of law. Finally, Gibson’s reach into extreme fantasy to identify Amelia Earhart also was debunked.

Caught by the Short Hairs of Amelia Earhart

The face of Amelia Earhart is recognizable worldwide. Only an expert of convenience like Kent Gibson would dare identify a person showing no identifiable facial features, who is photographed from the back, as the famed aviatrix.

Expert of convenience Kent Gibson identified this seated person as the lost Amelia Earhart. Gibson’s judgment has been disproved since.

Gibson reached for worldwide recognition when he falsely judged this image for the History Channel. What he earned was worldwide mortification.

A post-mortem of Gibson’s debacle by the Center for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) summarized numerous flaws by Gibson and his abettors in the Amelia Earhart farce when the image was proved to be taken two years before Earhart’s disappearance.

‘I don’t know what to say,’ says Kent Gibson, the facial-recognition expert that the History Channel hired to analyze the photograph for Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence. ‘I don’t have an explanation for why [the photograph] would show up two years early.’”

Excuses without Explanation

The National Geographic Society reported,

In the documentary, Gibson said that based on the facial and body proportions of the two Caucasians, he said it was “very likely” that the photograph contained Earhart and Noonan [ed. her co-pilot].

In a phone interview with National Geographic, Gibson added that since the documentary filmed, he has acquired new facial-recognition software that signals a match between the photograph’s Caucasian man and Fred Noonan. His previous software had indicated that there were too few pixels in the photograph to successfully perform the analysis. (In a follow-up email, Gibson declined additional comment.)

Gibson’s “Authentication” for Whiting

Not skilled in the meticulous metrics and analytics of photo analysis that applies forensic science techniques which are extensive and time-consuming, Kent Gibson prefers to rely solely upon photo comparison software for the quickie authentications he proclaims.

Such software today is used to trick the eye, as one auctioneer tried to do in 2014. More commonly today, such software is deployed on Facebook to harvest metrics for advertisers by fooling  Facebook subscribers to transform their photo images into historic persons, the opposite sex, art, or cartoon characters. (The same software could be employed to transform an image of Kent Gibson into an image of Lois Gibson. After all, the two never have been seen together.)

When addressing Justin Whiting’s image, Kent Gibson acted impulsively as he does routinely.  Digital Trends reported,

…Gibson didn’t need long to reach his conclusion. “I could tell immediately,” he said after running the picture through several facial recognition programs.  “It scored off the charts.”

Gibson is also hyperbolic in his assessment of the value of Whiting’s image. As the BBC reported,

Mr. Gibson said: ‘”All power to Justin. An authentic photograph of outlaw Billy the Kid sold for $5m (£3.6m) in 2015 so the sky’s the limit…Jesse James is a very famous outlaw so this is obviously a valuable image.”

DOWNLOAD Kent Gibson’s Declaration

Spawn

Con artists of fake Jesse James images feed off of one another.

In Regina, Canada, Rob & Karen Baron produce a YouTube channel called “Bargain Barons.” They are promoting their latest discovery – a tintype they claim is Jesse James.

The Barons say,

We have put the word out to several people. We very quickly heard back from Forensic Audio & Video Examiner KENT GIBSON. According to Kent: “Dear Rob & Karen: I ran your tin through one of my 5 different facial recognition programs and your photo is plausible.”

The Con Artist’s Template

So far, Rob & Karen Baron are making all the mistakes, following the typical template of a Jesse James photo con artist.

  • The Barons claim discovery of a tintype of Jesse James like Justin Whiting
  • The Barons found the tintype on the internet like Whiting
  • The Barons compare their tintype to fake images of Jesse James like Whiting
  • The Barons are shopping for experts of convenience like  Whiting
  • The Barons claim Kent Gibson believes their claim like Whiting

Without a doubt, once the Barons have an authentication in hand, issued by an expert of convenience like Kent Gibson, the Barons may seek to become merchants of identity theft like Justin Whiting. They may seek an expected financial windfall, too.

If they do, the Barons will find the Jesse James family waiting for them to discredit their image and expose another fraudulent Jesse James photo misadventure.

RELATED

Part I – Historic Photo Fraud Produces a Merchant of Identity Theft

Part II – Jesse James Family Discredits 7£ eBay Find of Justin Whiting

Part III – Photo Experts of Convenience Juke Identity Theft

Part IV – Forensic Science Proves “7£ eBay find” NOT Jesse James

 

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Tuesday February 9th, 2021
Stray Leaves

Theater advertisements for plays appeared like this in newspapers. This ad for Bloomer Girl appeared in August of 1845. Bloomer Girl was the product of Daniel Lewis James Jr. and principally his wife Lilith Stanward. The following excerpt about them appears in JJSL:

Written against the backdrop of World War II, when blacks were moving out of the South into an industrial workforce, and women also were moving out of the home into the workplace, Bloomer Girl is set in the pre-Civil War era, interweaving themes of black and female equality, war and peace, and politics. The play’s principal character, Dolly, is based upon the inventor of the bloomer, Amelia Bloomer, a contemporary of an acquaintance of Vassie James and Susan B. Anthony. As a fighter in the suffragette movement for women’s rights, Bloomer advocated, “Get rid of those heavy hoop skirts; wear bloomers like men; let’s get pants; let’s be their equal.” In the play, Dolly politicks for gender equality, as her rebellious niece Evelina politicks her suitor, a Southern slaveholding aristocrat, for racial equality. As the play’s librettist, Yip Harburg, stated,
Bloomer Girl was about “the indivisibility of human freedom.”

Bloomer Girl opened on Broadway on October 5, 1944. Dan (Daniel Lewis James) insisted Lilith’s (Dan’s wife) name come first in the show’s credits. The play was an instant hit, lasting 654 performances. Dan remained modest about the show’s success, considering his contribution a failure. “...I seem not to have given full credit to my collaborators on the 1944 musical comedy Bloomer Girl...The facts, in brief, are as follows: the originator of the story idea from which the musical grew was my wife, Lilith James, who charmingly chose the perversities of Fashion to dramatize the early struggles of the Women's Rights movement. She also developed the principal characters. I joined her in writing a first draft of the libretto. It failed to satisfy our lyricist, E. Y. Harburg, and Harold Arlen, the composer. It also failed to satisfy us. An impasse developed at which point all agreed to call in the team of Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy who were experienced writers in the field of musical comedy. They reworked the material to the satisfaction of everyone but Lilith and myself, who had hoped to invade Gilbert & Sullivan territory, with what we thought was a light-hearted paradoxical look at history. What I took for a personal artistic failure for which I blamed, first of all, myself, went on to become a lavish entertainment which played on Broadway for eighteen months and has since often been revived in summer theater. If I was not delighted, audiences certainly were and full credit for this should be given to Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy (now deceased) without whom the production would never have taken place...”
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Wednesday February 3rd, 2021
Stray Leaves

YOU CAN'T HELP BUT WONDER...What might have happened if Alan Pinkerton assigned Kate Warne to track and capture Jesse James?In 1856, twenty-three-year-old widow Kate Warne walked into the office of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Chicago, announcing that she had seen the company’s ad and wanted to apply for the job. “Sorry,” Alan Pinkerton told her, “but we don’t have any clerical staff openings. We’re looking to hire a new detective.” Pinkerton would later describe Warne as having a “commanding” presence that morning. “I’m here to apply for the detective position,” she replied. Taken aback, Pinkerton explained to Kate that women aren’t suited to be detectives, and then Kate forcefully and eloquently made her case. Women have access to places male detectives can’t go, she noted, and women can befriend the wives and girlfriends of suspects and gain information from them. Finally, she observed, men tend to become braggards around women who encourage boasting, and women have keen eyes for detail. Pinkerton was convinced. He hired her.

Shortly after Warne was hired, she proved her value as a detective by befriending the wife of a suspect in a major embezzlement case. Warne not only gained the information necessary to arrest and convict the thief, but she discovered where the embezzled funds were hidden and was able to recover nearly all of them. On another case she extracted a confession from a suspect while posing as a fortune teller. Pinkerton was so impressed that he created a Women’s Detective Bureau within his agency and made Kate Warne the leader of it.

In her most famous case, Kate Warne may have changed the history of the world. In February 1861 the president of the Wilmington and Baltimore railroad hired Pinkerton to investigate rumors of threats against the railroad. Looking into it, Pinkerton soon found evidence of something much more dangerous—a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln before his inauguration. Pinkerton assigned Kate Warne to the case. Taking the persona of “Mrs. Cherry,” a Southern woman visiting Baltimore, she managed to infiltrate the secessionist movement there and learn the specific details of the scheme—a plan to kill the president-elect as he passed through Baltimore on the way to Washington.

Pinkerton relayed the threat to Lincoln and urged him to travel to Washington from a different direction. But Lincoln was unwilling to cancel the speaking engagements he had agreed to along the way, so Pinkerton resorted to a Plan B. For the trip through Baltimore Lincoln was secretly transferred to a different train and disguised as an invalid. Posing as his caregiver was Kate Warne. When she afterwards described her sleepless night with the President, Pinkerton was inspired to adopt the motto that became famously associated with his agency: “We never sleep.” The details Kate Warne had uncovered had enabled the “Baltimore Plot” to be thwarted.

During the Civil War, Warne and the female detectives under her supervision conducted numerous risky espionage missions, with Warne’s charm and her skill at impersonating a Confederate sympathizer giving her access to valuable intelligence. After the war she continued to handle dangerous undercover assignments on high-profile cases, while at the same time overseeing the agency’s growing staff of female detectives.

Kate Warne, America’s first female detective, died of pneumonia at age 34, on January 28, 1868, one hundred fifty-three years ago today. “She never let me down,” Pinkerton said of one of his most trusted and valuable agents. She was buried in the Pinkerton family plot in Chicago.
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YOU CANT HELP BUT WONDER...What might have happened if Alan Pinkerton assigned Kate Warne to track and capture Jesse James?
Monday January 18th, 2021
Stray Leaves

None of this surprises Stray Leaves. We exist for stories like this.
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