Thinner, and the challenge of pinning a ceiling date

If anyone here is old enough to have read printed magazines during the eighties, you’ll perhaps recall the standard formula for diet pill advertisements. One would be presented with two pictures of the same person. In the first photo, the model would look significantly more substantial than in the second picture, with a concurrent reduction of reliance on a wide angle lens. This was to demonstrate the wonderful efficacy of the weight loss medicine. Nothing like evidence, right? Sien is glo.

Now, the photographer would often included one of two items: either a pair of denim jeans, presumably having belonged to the model in her more voluptuous era, or couple of newspapers.

The denim I get, the newspapers not so much. I initially thought it might be the wrapping for the fish and chips the model was looking forward to enjoying after the shoot, but was later told that it was supposed to prove the dates on which the pictures were taken, and by extension the impressively rapid rate at which the much ballyhooed pills strip off the adipocytes.

I’ll leave it to reader to decide wether the dual newspaper method is a convincing proof of elapsed time.

But more interestingly, what CAN one reliably include in a photograph to pin a maximum date. That is, what can one include in the photo to show that the picture cannot possibly be older than a certain date.

For larger stretches of time: Current height of smallish child?

CNN on TV in the background showing current date, in airport so as to preclude recording? Though this doesn’t rule out doctoring… I’m assuming almost anything can be doctored these days.

Pictures taken with the World Trade Center, NY before it’s ultimate demise.

I’m trying to think of something that satisfies the criteria of:

  • Decays/Grows at a known rate.
  • Can be generally established to have a certain appearance around a certain date by an outside observer without special knowledge.

Can’t think of any though. Maybe I’ll mull on it.

That’s actually quite clever! Kudos.

Lets assume the pic itself is not tampered with.

I want to add to your two criteria that the item must be uniquely identifiable also. Otherwise one small maize plant can be substituted for another.

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