Black Dahlia: My Photos of Elizabeth Short Get Around

L.A. Daily Mirror, April 25, 2014

Some folks on the Internet are quite casual about where they get images. I always watermark mine so that even if someone swipes it, the url is still visible — unless someone crops it out. Here’s a case in point.

On April 25, 2012, I posted this photo (taken April 21, 2012) and several others on the L.A. Daily Mirror blog from an exhibit at the Los Angeles Police Historical Society on the Black Dahlia case. Note the watermark. I named the image elizabeth_short_nd_elvira_lapd.jpg

I took this photograph with my cellphone, shooting through the top of a glass case.

elizabeth_short_nd_elvira_lapd_circle

The picture was difficult to photograph because of all the glare and reflections. Notice the two lights reflected in the glass. These will be important.

I thought it would be fun to see who has swiped my picture (despite the watermark) since 2012.

Elizabeth Short swiped image

Looks like it has gotten around. Here is the photo on Pinterest.

elizabeth_short_nd_elvira_lapd_square
Notice that the watermark is still present.

And here it is on Monsterisland, dated January 2013

Black Dahlia Elvira
With the watermark intact.

Not so for The Horror Unlimited website in a post dated Feb. 28, 2013.

Black Dahlia Elvira

Notice the telltale reflection of the lights. Also that the watermark has been cropped out, but the name of the photo remains elizabeth_short_nd_elvira_lapd.jpg. Tacky, tacky!

Black Dahlia Elvira
We also find the image (minus the watermark) on Santa Fe Ghost and History Tours – and I must confess I can’t imagine how anybody connects Elizabeth Short to Santa Fe, N.M. Examining the image properties shows that it is dated Nov. 7, 2013, and has been renamed blackdahliaoldl_a.jpg

Black Dahlia Elvira
And finally, we find the photo I took, minus the watermark, at SteveHodel.com in a post dated April 26, 2013, named es elvira-thumb-400×290-3782.jpg.  (There appears to be something wrong with the page, so I have used the Archive.org version of it). I hadn’t noticed until now because I never look at the website.

Again, notice the telltale reflection of the lights.

elizabeth_short_nd_elvira_lapd_circle

How can I be so sure?

Here’s how: What you see to the right of the image …  is my reflection.

Black_Dahlia_nd_elvira

I will leave it to Steve Hodel to explain how my photo ended up on his website. But it is tacky.

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Black Dahlia: My Photos of Elizabeth Short Get Around

  1. Steven Bibb says:

    Great detective work.
    I’ve been through this myself. Having a large collection of photos and sending scans to “friends” who then post and re-post and re-post. The photos quickly scatter all over the internet. What’s worse is that some of the scans of mine wind up on ebay with people selling prints of photos that I scanned myself at 19.99 a pop.
    Part of the fun of having a collection is to share, but a part of me also wants to just keep the items to myself.

    FYI: This reply was not directed at you, Larry. I love your blog and very happily contribute photos from time to time, and hope to do so again in the near future.

    • lmharnisch says:

      Steven…. You have been incredibly generous with your photos. I believe I have watermarked all of them “Courtesy of Steven Bibb” in an attempt to deter theft. Your material on the “Masked Marvel Murder” was fabulous! Thanks again.

  2. Eve says:

    Steve Hodel had the gall to steal one of your photos? My gob has been smacked.

  3. J'aime Rubio says:

    I have had this happen with the photos of Anna Corbin, whom I wrote extensively about her murder at the Preston School of Industry in Ione, Ca (1950) on my blog and in my book. No one has photos of her, all the photos I have posted have made their way across the internet on other peoples sites– It bugs the heck out of me. Especially when people post the photos as if they are their own and don’t cite where they got the photo (off my blog).

  4. Mary Mallory says:

    99% of people do this on Facebook, they just swipe stuff wherever and post, without saying who or where they got it from. Some major sites on FB related to a certain city that we live in spring to mind, with some people getting some celebrity out of “borrowing” photos from the library and other sites to write about the city. I have friends tell me it’s so time consuming, etc., to find photos and don’t see any reason to give citations, and I tell them that it’s basically theft. They wouldn’t want someone freely using their material with no attribution, etc. It’s easy enough to say, from the LAPL, a FB group, a person, etc.

    • lmharnisch says:

      There is one individual who has taken the LAPL scans from the Black Dahlia case and sells them as postcards on EBay. They turn up as jewelry as well.

      • Eve says:

        Gosh, a Black Dahlia necklace would look swell with my Little Mary Phagan earrings and Karyn Kupcinet brooch!

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