Moving on Up: John and Mary Jane Boyett’s Retouched Portrait

In the modern world of “glamour shot” photography,  a few digital improvements photoshopped into the family portrait are perhaps expected.  But even in the 1930s,  a family photo  could be upgraded with the judicious application of a little paint.  In fact, according to digital forensics expert, Dr. Hany Farid, “photographs have been manipulated for nearly as long as photography has been around. The nearly iconic portrait of Abraham Lincoln (circa 1860), for example, is a composite of Lincoln’s head and Senator John Calhoun’s body.”

Sharp-eyed reader, Richard Wheeler,  recently commented that the “formal” portrait of Mary Jane Sirmans and John Boyett (see John Boyett (1865-1938) ~ Ray City Farmer) is actually a retouched version of a more casual photograph of the couple (see The Calhoun Farm), presented here, side-by-side.   The Boyett’s home place was situated southeast of Ray City, GA on the shore of Banks Lake.

John Boyette (1865-1938) and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett (1867-1946). John Boyett's land consisted of more than 1000 acres situated in present day western Lanier County, GA. (Image courtesy of

Original photo of John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett, circa 1930-31. Image courtesy of

Edward John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans, circa 1900. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Retouched family portrait of John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans Boyett. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

” My mother, a great grand daughter of John and MaryJane’s has the exact same portrait (shown above, right) hanging in her living room,” said Wheeler. “In this photo John’s jacket and tie are painted on and Mary Jane’s dress and shawl are painted over. In the original (above, left) my great grandmother can be seen holding my grandfather as a infant, but they are painted out of these doctored portraits. This photo was taken 1930 or early 31. John died April 2 1938, from injury/illness days after crashing his pick-up truck.”

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1 Comment

  1. May 26, 2012 at 5:49 am

    […] Moving on Up: John and Mary Jane Boyett’s Retouched Portrait ( […]

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