censored photos of aircraft

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by oldcrowcv63, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Anyone have any idea whether there are records of aircraft photo censorship? Were any sort of records kept regarding what warranted censorship during WW2? or were censors pretty much on their own with respect to what they deemed worthy of obscuring in s photo? I am assuming that at the time, a censored photo would have been permanently degraded with no way to preserve the original information. I suspect that even now, with modern image restoration and enhancement techniques it might be difficult to restore a photo to its original pristine, pre-censored condition.
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A lot of things could 'trigger' censorship, including buildings in the background let alone aircraft 'features' like radar antenna. In some cases it was unit markings.

    A question is if it was the print that was censored or the negative. SOme censors seem to have had a heavy hand and simply blotted out what they didn't want seen and in other cases some airbrushing was used to cover up/blend the image.
     
  3. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea which was censored: negative or print. They aren't listed as censored, they just look a bit suspicious. I was looking for any sign of censorship in a specific spot on the pictured aircraft in a compendium of photos. Some of the photos show what you've described as blurring or blending while another showed an overlay or scratch-out in the exact spot for which I was looking. So, what you've described is exactly what I am seeing in these photos.. Unfortunately, they are not digital so I have to scan them some time in the future and then I'll probably post them because they are interesting.
     
  4. Procrastintor

    Procrastintor Member

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    Wait, why censor an aircraft? If they released a photo it isnt classified, and last I checked they were fine with showing graphic nose art, so what would a reason be? (Not being sarcastic. just curious)
     
  5. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The pictures might give evidence of classified equipment on the aircraft, or equipment in the background.
    Or where they're based.
     
  6. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    every picture sent home had to be given to the censor ( an intell officer i would suspect ) and stamped ( literally ) with his approval. not only pictures of ac, but anything taken on the base. most of the photos i have from my mothers scrap book that was sent to her by my father had that official ok on the back. some were of his plane some were just pictures of him and his squad mates. every little detail counts....
     
  7. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    I've seen quite a few with serial numbers, squadron codes and markings blurred out. I'm guessing it was to keep the enemy from guessing Air Force strengths.

    Geo
     
  8. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    I've seen glass plate negatives with information scratched out, such as squadron codes and background detail. Another thing that was rigidly censored in Britain was radar and radio aerials and sometimes the censor has scratched out one aerial only to leave another in place inadvertently.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Some cases saw the negative being preserved for future reference, the developed photo being edited.
     
  10. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    bobbysocks, you indicated there should be notation on the original photo or negative indicating that it had been modified by the censor. I expect there would be no further description of whatever modifications had been made?
     
  11. Wendovertom

    Wendovertom New Member

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    Hello - I am new to the site and this thread caught my eye. I have seen a number of censored photos of "silverplate" B-29s while the 509th CG was stationed here in Wendover, Utah; they were all "doctored" to remove any distingushing markings or features. However most of these photos were marked top secret and not released until after the bombing of Japan (and what was released to the public were photos on Tinian). In my interviews with veterans of the 509th there is little doubt that the only photos that were taken were official ones - security could hang you out to dry in a big way if you took personal photos of any part of the flightline. All of this was obviously to keep any info on the atomic project and delivery systems from the japanese and most likely the Russians as well.

    Tom P.
     
  12. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Tom, interesting. I am mainly interested in photos taken by overseas servicemen (pilots and flight crew) that show the P-40E in Australia and New Guinea. I have noticed what I believe may be examples of censorship but have no reference frame. I'd be interested in seeing any examples to compare to the suspect photos reproduced in a book on the 49th Fighter Group in WW2.
     
  13. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    I may be a bit naive here, but wouldn't it tend to be a violation for random servicemen to be taking snapshots around the base in a war zone?
     
  14. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Flight lines and troops, especially at forward bases, weren't so isolated from each other as they are today.

    In my unit in Vietnam, you could get a Article 15 for carrying a camera on operations,(this was the Army's reaction to My Lai ) but that didn't seem to stop anyone .
     
  15. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    no it was just "approved". i have never seen a negative just photos my father sent back...and none of them were altered in any way.
     
  16. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #16 oldcrowcv63, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
    You both have a point and all I can do is provide one example of which there are many. All seem to have been acceptable to local authorities to take, as there are so many. Ferguson and Pascalis, Avenge and Protect are full of such photos and so are other similar books. Perhaps it was just too early in the war for the taking such photos to have become proscribed. The attached photo is not apparently censored and there seems to be a mix including those in F P, of photos which appear to have been altered and those I am receiving from private correspondents that are unaltered.

    As I recall, I obtained this photo from a forum member during a thread on the P-40 in the FEAF PI Java campaigns.
     

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