The famous backyard photos


This month 50 years ago, the famous backyard photographs were made by Marina Oswald. The photos show her husband Lee Harvey Oswald standing in his backyard, with a holstered pistol strapped to his waist, holding a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and two communist newspapers, The Militant and The Worker. The authenticity of the pictures have always been the subject of discussion.


After police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald on suspicion of assassinating President Kennedy, they searched the Paine residence in Irving, Texas, where Marina Oswald had been living. Among the belongings, Dallas Police officials found a brown cardboard box containing personal papers and photographs, including two snapshot negatives of Oswald standing in his backyard. Highly incriminating pictures: the rifle he was holding appeared to be the one used to shoot Kennedy. Oswald himself, when shown the photo in jail, claimed he had never seen it before and insisted someone had superimposed his head onto another body. Marina immediately recognized the photo, that became Warren Commission Exhibit 133-A.

Proud of his new weapon
Lee and Marina Oswald lived in this upstairs apartment. This is the location in Google Maps and here is a recent picture of the backyard. Late in the afternoon, most likely on Sunday, March 31, 1963, Oswald descended the back stairs of this house, carrying his just purchased rifle. He was very proud of it. He handed his wife a camera and asked her to take pictures of him with the weapon, the revolver he already owned and the two left-wing newspapers, dated March 11 and March 24, 1963.

Diferent versions of the same picture
One of the photographs later appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in February of 1964, on the front page of the Detroit Free Press, and soon in various other publications. But what happened? The photo appeared to differ from publication to publication. In particular, details of the rifle differed. Why did they tamper the picture? Among lots of critics, the differences created suspicions that the photo was fake. Skeptics still continue to argue the photo was fake, noting apparent inconsistencies in the shadows, conflicting body proportions, and a strange line across Oswald’s chin suggesting the head may have been pasted into the photo. Are they right? And why in hell were multiple versions of the same photo circulating in 1964?

An explanation of the tampering
The explanation came later. According to experts, the variations (and accidental erasure of the sniper scope on some versions) were caused by photo editors, touching up the photo in different ways in order to heighten the contrast between dark and grey areas. A common practice in the publishing industry at the time, due to the limitations of the printing process. To disprove all speculations, the Select Committee on Assassination of the House of Representatives commissioned a panel of photographic experts in 1978, to study the photo. No evidence of tampering was found. The mysterious line across Oswald’s chin was determined to be a water spot. Read the complete paragraphs of the commission here. A few sentences:

Lyndal L. Shaneyfelt, an FBI photographic expert, performed an analysis on the two backyard prints. (…) Shaneyfelt examined them under magnification andnfound no characteristics of compositing or retouching. Initial public controversy regarding the authenticity of the backyard arose after copies of CE 133-A, which appeared to differ in detail from the original as well as from each other, particularly with respect to the configuration of the rifle, were published in Life, Newsweek and other news publications. He testified that the apparent variations in the magazine versions were caused by retouching, a common practice the reproduction of photographs for publication.

Case closed – but not to all people. Some still think something is wrong with this pictures. Watch, for instance, some movies on this subject on YouTube.

What do you think?



    I think you’re dishonest by failing to point out the OBVIOUS FACT that the FBI’s job was to cover-up the assassination and the fabrication that is OBVIOUS on this photo when looking at the photos that were used to fabricate it and compare it to the EVIDENCE

    • Perry Vermeulen says:

      Thanks for your comment on this article! Didn’t Marina confess that she took the picture? Have to look into this, has been a while ago. I don’t know if these photos are altered, but honestly, I’m skeptical. Which doesn’t mean that I think Oswald was a lone assassin.


    Imagine yourself as a young 22 year-old, being raised to believe that the government is “the good guys” and they’re telling you that your husband murdered the president.

    Did you bother to look at the differences in the photos? Do you really think the fraud in those photos is the work of pro-Oswald people AFTER the fact? Isn’t that ABSURD to even consider?

    Women are emotional anyway and I’m sure her emotions were in an upheaval. Even if she said she took the picture *when she was in such a state* doesn’t address the fact of how easily she could have either been pressured or simply that she never noticed the fabrications of the photo.

    If the police brought you a photo of your husband in the backyard of his apartment, and said, “Did you take this?” would you give the photo a forensic examination before answering, if you were a 22 year-old female immigrant with two small children whose husband was accused of such a crime? Do you not think that she was extremely afraid of what they might do to her? Do you not think that she might have lied about many things just to try to appease the AUTHORITIES?

    You know that she’s changed her testimony. Having the CRIMINAL FBI announce anything to the public about JFK’s assassination makes it QUESTIONABLE, not credible. The fact that it’s 50 years later and the lies are STILL being perpetrated by the media says a great deal.

    Is it not common knowledge now that J Edgar Hoover hated both Kennedy’s and knew his job was on the line and wanted them both gone, which btw, is exactly what happened (because RFK would have opened a new investigation into his brother’s death).

    Is it not common knowledge by ALL who know anything about the Secret Service protocol that MANY RULES WERE VIOLATED THAT DAY and that upon hearing shots, INSTEAD OF RACING OFF, Kennedy’s driver SLOWED DOWN? How much clearer a message could that be?

    You need to make up your mind what you believe and name your website appropriately. If you’re going to ride the fence for the sake of $$$, then I’ll have no respect for you.

    The evidence on the Internet is MORE THAN ABUNDANT that the Dallas PD, the Secret Service and the FBI were ALL PARTIES in hiding the truth from the public in their EFFECTIVE PLAN TO STOP JUSTICE FROM OCCURRING in the aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination.

    Kennedy was not murdered by Oswald; that is ludicrous. Oswald’s history was a setup by the government to use him as a patsy. No one goes to Russia, renounces their US citizenship, offers secrets to the Russians and then just waltzes back in with the ease that Oswald did without government authorization and approval. If these charges of which Oswald was accused were true, the FBI would have met him at the airport and taken him directly to jail and he wouldn’t have been an available patsy.

    The holes in the government’s “stories” have been exposed and are too many, too detailed and have too much evidence THAT THE MAJOR MEDIA WON’T ALLOW TO BE SEEN for any honest man to believe the con that the government has sold us. The evidence against the government’s story is MASSIVE and convincing to any HONEST MAN.

    The Warren Commission was hand-picked by LBJ of men who DID NOT LIKE Kennedy and that it was a farce, a fabrication and a fraud is obvious on TOO MANY POINTS, again, for any honest man to deny. Examine the history of the men yourself and note, not only what Kennedy did to Dulles, but what position his brother held when Kennedy was assassinated and why he was never mentioned.

    Anyone who claims they believe the government on Kennedy’s murder is ignorant or a liar. There are no other options.

  3. Here’s a possible plausible scenario, old Marine buddy runs into Lee Oswald in early 1963. Lee takes a couple photos of his friend holding up a gun and newspaper. Lee gets film developed, is bored at work one day, and superimposes his face over Roscoe White’s. Figures himself clever and gives one to White and one to DeMorenschildt, and keeps one for himself. Maybe before, he did try to get Marina to take a photo of him like that and maybe they didn’t turn out so good if at all. I think DeMorenschildt was filling his head with how evil the right wing fascists were and what a threat they posed to the country. Oswald fancies himself a “hunter of fascists” and takes a shot at the biggest one in Dallas…Gen.Edwin Walker. This photo is used later to further incriminate Lee Oswald after being accused of shooting the President. Does anyone know what Roscoe White was doing or where he was working in early 63 before he joined the force in Oct.63?

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