UFO Conjectures

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A clue to fraud -- the Trent/McMinnville flying saucer photo(s)?

Farmer Paul Trent took his "famous" photos of an alleged flying disk in the sky, over his farm in 1950 and while some feel his photographs are legitimate (authentic), there are these aftermath photos (by a LIFE magazine photographer) of Mr. Trent indicating a desire to capitalize (become notable) on the basis of his photographs:
Now one can assume that anyone capturing by camera a photo of a  flying saucer in 1950 would revel in some kind of notoriety or fame; flying saucers were exotic and remarkably strange in 1950 and getting a picture of one would be a stand-out accomplishment.

But the stance and demeanor of Mr. Trent in these photos (and others) seems to show a man more interested in that notoriety than what his camera had captured.

For me, this puts a dent in his sincerity and credibility.

An article in the March 2016 issue of Harper's magazine about staged photography [Undeceiving the World: Can a staged photograph tell the truth by Stuart Franklin, Page 63 ff.] may address the motives of the LIFE photographer but it also allows us to consider Mr. Trent's purposes for attending the LIFE photographer's goals (which were to hint at a duplicity by the Trents as covered in a few pieces here, at this blog, and elsewhere about the matter).

Mr. Trent seems heftily interested in his new found "fame" which also indicates, psychoanalytically, an unconscious desire to gain that fame by creating a unique and sensational photograph,

Mr. Trent may have been a farmer but he was not typical of the stereotype often laid upon farmers: rubes with little education or sophisticated manners (despite dirty, farm-afflicted clothing in his case).

We have tried to find his son, pictured here in a contrived photo by LIFE (hinting at the idea that the thing photographed may have been tied to an overhead wire), but have been unsuccessful thus far.
At any rate, the LIFE effort along with Mr. Trent's (and family's) acquiescence in the shoot and posing raises some questions, for me (attendant upon the Harper's article), about the authenticity of the McMinnville photos (which have been addressed by believers and skeptics many times over.)



  • If someone saw proof -- or what they though was proof -- of such an advanced life form visiting earth, why would they still be enamored with cash?

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Sunday, February 14, 2016  

  • Well not cash but a modicum of fame.

    And, indeed, why?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, February 14, 2016  

  • Similar to Stephen Darbishire in the UK who was invited to Buckingham Palace in 1954. His photos were very similar to Adamski's, and Prince Philip was, and still is, a UFO fan - hence the invitation. He made a paper model, using Adamski's photo from a magazine. He became a talented artist in later life and enjoyed the brief period of publicity the UFO 'experience' afforded him.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, February 15, 2016  

  • Interesting. Although two things come to mind:

    First, supposedly 'objective' news portraits were and still are often very much constructed for simplified representation. I can easily imagine a pro photographer wanting to put his subject in a relaxed mood and accentuate the 'salt of the earth folk meets space visitors' angle. Someone not quite conscious of the narrative tools of photography could get somehow trapped in them. Then especially.

    Second, the sighting of extraordinary phenomena and the attraction (however fleeting) of 'fame' are NOT mutually exclusive, are they ?

    By Blogger Dominic Vanchesteing, at Monday, February 15, 2016  

  • Dominic:

    Back in 1950, fame wasn't as prolifically desired as it is now -- when everyone wants their 15 minutes worth.

    For a farmer, with soiled clothes to strut his camera as Mr. Trent is shown, raises questions in my mind as to his credibility in the matter....something the LIFE photographer seems to have noticed also.

    See if you can find the Harper's piece on staged photography for more.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, February 15, 2016  

  • As a professional photographer for over 30 years I need to point out the suggestion that Mr. Trent in the photographs shows a "stance and demeanor in these photos (and others) that seems to show a man more interested in that notoriety than what his camera had captured," is probably because the person who took the photos placed him into those positions. The photos of Trent were obviously posed and shouldn't be used to suggest through body language that he was up to something nefarious. I am not suggesting one way or the other that his UFO photos are real or not...just pointing out his poses were the result of a photographer trying to take some photos that would pass muster from his editor.

    By Blogger Tim Swartz, at Tuesday, February 16, 2016  

  • Thank you Tim...

    My reference point was the Harper's article.

    I'm saying the LIFE photographer was telling us something with the poses (a matter discussed here a year or so ago).

    And Mr. Trent's acquiescence tells us something too, based upon a psychoanalytic look at his demeanor, another matter brought up here several times about what one can tell from subjects in photos and paintings. no matter who suggested the pose(s).

    There's more here than meets the superficial eye.

    My sojourn as a journalist, often having to take my own photos at a news shoot, let's me take a different stance than the one you're taking.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, February 16, 2016  

  • This is my Great Uncle. Love these stories so much!

    By Blogger Doula_Annie, at Tuesday, January 24, 2017  

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