Is this the real face of Jesus, based on the Shroud of Turin?
O Lord of hosts, restore us, let your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.
"Everywhere you go around the world, everyone recognizes the face of Jesus, but the irony is, nobody actually knows what he really looks like."
-- Ray Downing, Computer Graphic Artist
Ray Downing has decades of Computer Graphics experience, and worked for five years in a monumental quest to reconstruct the Real Face of Jesus, based on the burial shroud of Jesus, known as the Shroud of Turin.
His goal was to resurrect the animated 3D image of Jesus Christ. He has done this kind of work before. Years ago, Ray Downing and his colleagues reconstructed the face of Abraham Lincoln using over 130 photographs, and 2 life cast masks that had been taken of the 16th President of the United States.
The Real Face of Jesus was a much bigger challenge, using the 14 foot by 3 1/2 foot burrial shroud of Jesus. The Shroud of Turin was badly damaged in a fire in 1532, and there are several holes in the herringbone weave cloth.
The Shroud is an apparent image of a scourged and crucified man. The wounds on the body match the Bible's description of the Crucifixtion, with forencicly correct nail wounds on the wrist, approximately 120 scourge marks of a man who was very severely scourged, wounds on the head and forehead from an apparent Crown of Thorns, and a puncture wound on the left side of the rib cage.
Until the Shroud of Turin was photographed in 1898, in Turin, Italy, by Secondo Pia, noone realized that the image was a 'photographic negative' image, with the lights and darks reversed. Secondo Pia was so amazewd by the image as the glass plate developed in his darkroom tray, that, it is reported that he nearly dropped the glass plate! He was a religious man, and believed that he was looking into the face of Jesus.
"If anyone is interested in Jesus, if anyone loves Jesus, why wouldn't they want to see what He looked like, three dimensionally, two-thousand years ago, if that's possible?"
-- John Jackson, 1978 Shroud of Turin Researcher
John Jackson initiated sharp scientific interest in the Shroud in 1976, when he was Captain at the U.S. Air Force Weapons Labratory at Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico. John Jackson fostered an interest in the Shroud of Turin, and in his spare time, decided with his colleagues, to run a photograph of the Shroud of Turin through a VP8 Image Analyzer- a specialized computer that is used to make 3D maps of the Moon, and other heavenly bodies. The computer analyzes the lights and darks of images to determine levels of elevation.
What appeared on the VP8 Computer Screen, at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico in 1976, was an image unlike any other photograph, drawing, or painting that the machine had ever analyized before! It produced a 3D Relief image of the Shroud. It was a relief image that had never been produced by a drawing, or photograph previously. The image that they decided to test in the VP8 Computer, the head area photograph of the Shroud of Turin, must have been wrapped, at one time, on a three dimensional human form!
John Jackson immediately recognized the significance of the image, and fostered a strong following amoung other scientists, assembled a team named STURP, the 'Shroud of Turin Research Project', (pronounced 'stirp'), and two years later, won permission to examine the Shroud in 1978.
In the unprescedented extensive five day examination of the Shroud of Turin in 1978, no paint, or drawing was found on the linen. The image was also not formed by burn marks, or chemicals. To this day, scientists still do not understand how the image was formed. Since 1978, there has not been any further scientific access to the Shroud.
The STURP Project determined conclusively that there was no drawing, sketch, paint, crayon, pastel, scortching technique, or any other evidence left behind by some artistic man-made method, on the Shroud of Turin Linen.
"When you look at the Shroud, it gives the impression that it is a picture, but it is not a picture, at all. It is a database of information. The 3D information is explicit, -- it's deliberate. That's what makes it so peculiar. It's as if it were meant to be there!"
-- Ray Downing, Computer Graphic Artist