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Ghost photos


By Raffy Paredes

Some years ago, during the Halloween-Undas season, I would ask readers to send over ghost pictures that they have taken. I was interested in actual photos of supernatural phenomena that may have suddenly appeared in snapshots. Since there were no takers for about three to four successive years, I decided to give up. Now I am reintroducing the offer to readers. This column will feature the spirit photographs that you will send over. Do they have to be real? I also enjoy well-made manipulated photos.

The world’s first known “spirit photographer” was William Mumler who made good business taking portraits of clients posed alongside the “spirits” of their deceased loved ones.In 1861, after developing a self-portrait, he noticed what appeared to be the shadowy figure of a young girl floating beside his own likeness. He assumed it was an accident, the trace of an earlier negative made with the same plate, but friends told him the figure resembled his dead cousin. Soon the unusual photo came to the attention of the spiritualist community, who proclaimed it to be the first photo ever taken of a spirit. Mumler didn’t argue with them. Instead he took advantage of the interest in the photo to go into business as the world’s first spirit photographer. He grew wealthy producing spirit photos for grief-stricken clients who had lost relatives in the Civil War. He was eventually discredited after he took a photo of P.T. Barnum with the “ghost” of Lincoln also appearing in the picture. During Mumler’s 1869 hearing for fraud, Barnum—the trickster, indignant about trickery—was called to the witness stand to testify against Mumler.Barnum would serve as an expert, the Oxford University Press notes, on “humbuggery” (The Atlantic, http//

With today’s digital technology, it’s easier to make “spirit photographs.” You can use layers (Photoshop, GIMP, etc.) or take long exposure shots (using negative EV to keep the photo dark) with the ghost moving out of the frame halfway through the exposure. For smartphones, suggests using Juxtaposer for iPhones and Photo Layers for Android.

And now to our featured readers with two new contributors.

Christopher Aragon sent in an untitled photo of a stone sculpture. “I was introduced to photography by my former workmates and at first I was only using my mobile phone for taking photos, as I was still unsure if I should go and buy a camera,” shares Christopher. “Though as time passed and I really enjoyed taking pictures, I decided to get my first camera and I’m using it for a year and a half now.”

From Baler, Lloyd Marvin San Pedro, a casual employee at the Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Office of Aurora province shares the photo “Pangarap.” He explains the reason for his photo title: “Sa photo pong ito yung swing (rides sa peryahan) ay nagre-represent ng dream (pangarap), goals natin sa buhay punong-punong liwanag. Yung fence naman ang challenges at mga struggles natin sa buhay.Napipigilan tayo ng kahirapan, kakulangan sa edukasyon at iba pang mga dahilan upang hindi natin maabot ang ating pangarap kahit abot-tanaw na natin ito. Yung dalawang bata na faded ay nagre-represent sa atin. Faded kasi hindi natin alam kung makaka-survive pa tayo, kung makakaya pa ba nating harapin ang mga balakid sa harapan natin.”

Other photos on today’s page comefrom previously featured readers some of whom regularly send over photos.

The photo “Bangui After Sunset” comes from Stevan Hugh Alvarado. He took the photo at the Bangui Windfarm, Pililia, Laguna.

Aldrian “Ian” Magno shares “Like A Lady; Debutante,” a photo of debutante and first-time model, Iyah Celestial.  “It is a challenge for us photographers to handle a first timer model/client who is too shy for a dslr camera,” writes Ian.They are self-conscious at the start but as the shoot progresses, they start to pose just like they were just having a selfie with their smartphone. In photography I’ve learned to be patient, to communicate with my subject (model), to direct them (which I am still learning), motivate them and to have fun times, just like what Alfred Stieglitz said: ‘It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.’”

From Mardy Bansil is the photo, “Gamot Para SaMagandang Kalusugan.” “Habang ako’y naglilinis ng aming bahay sabi ko ay tapon ko na yata ang mga gamot na ito,” writes Mardy.“Pero nakaisip ako, maari ko palang gamitin ang mga ito dahil passion ko ang potograpiya.Inayos ko ang mga ito at gumamit ng mga flashlight para sa maganda pang ilaw. Sinimulan ko na ang pagkuha, hanggang makakuha ng magandang shot.”

Aldrin Gersalia, a photo enthusiast and private school teacher at Escuela de Sophia of Caloocan, Inc. contributed the photo “Guitars.” He shares that in the photo are “affordable, durable and world-class”Alegre guitars from Cebu.

Lennox Lente submitted the moon photo titled “Lunar Smoke.” “I took the shot few minutes before 6 a.m. of June 28, 2016 at my front yard in Quezon City,” relates Lennox.  “What’s very interesting about this moon shot is that the moon really looks like it’s smoking. So I immediately took my Canon PowerShot SX60 HS out, zoomed away and shot it. Now I’m sharing it hoping to inspire others.”

Carlo Angelo Barena writes that he took his photo titled “End of Summer” at the Malayan Beach Resort in Talisay, Cebu. “Nakita ko po itong skimboarder,” Carlo narrates. “Nilapitan ko siya at tinanong kung pwede kong kunan siya ng litrato habang nag-skimboarding.Sabi niya ‘ok ra bai’ or ‘ok bro’ in Tagalog. Kaya ito lang na shot ang mas ok kasi ang hina ng alon mahirap daw gumawa ng tricks kapag mahina.”

The black-and-white street photo, “Waiting for Someone” comes from Arnel Cruzada.

And Kim Maynard Go sent in “Manila Bay at Night” captured from Harbour Square after a rainy afternoon last September.

Readers may now view issues of Picture Perfect including this column at

For comments, suggestions or just to share an image or idea, email or

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  • waraykaon

    Raffy Paredes is a ghost writer, I think.