This is a fictional story of how I photobombed Howard Carter’s selfie in the Valley of the Kings. The story is from Mr. Carter’s point of view.
Howard Carter was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist. Mr. Carter died of lymphoma in 1939, seventeen years after he discovered the intact tomb of 14th century B.C. pharaoh Tutankhamun. Because his death occurred many years after the opening of King Tut’s tomb, it has been used to refute the notion of the curse of King Tut’s Tomb. What most people don’t know is that Mr. Carter was cursed soon after opening the tomb. The curse temporarily transported him 86 years into the future, in the year 2008. Here’s what happened:
It took five years for Howard Carter and his patron Lord Carnarvon to find the tomb of Tutankhamun. Predictably, there was great celebration and plentiful libations when they finally found the intact tomb. As leader of the expedition, Howard Carter led the celebrations well into the night. The following day, he woke up on the ground with a pounding headache. He was quite disoriented. It didn’t help that there were many people around, but none he recognized from his expedition. And everyone was dressed oddly. Women in men’s pants, imagine that! Carter gingerly approached a group that sounded like they were speaking English (albeit with atrocious accents!) They were friendly enough (although he heard someone remark in an undertone while staring at his clothes, “Must be a historical re-enactor.”) He asked them where he was and when they told him he was in the Valley of the Kings, specifically in front of King Tut’s tomb, Howard Carter was astonished. How did they know? His expedition only found this place yesterday! The Asian woman in the group pointed to signage in Arabic that was also translated to English stating, “Tomb of Tut Ankh Amun No: 62.” Carter stared dumbfounded at the yellow sign. His head was pounding even more and he barely heard the Asian woman ask if he wanted to take a photo of the signage, since he seemed very interested in it. She handed him a squarish gadget that resembled one of those photograph contraptions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She directed him to look in the lens and press a button, then afterward showed him the photograph it produced: a portrait of him in front of King Tut’s tomb. Carter became hopeful. If he could show this photograph to his expedition team, they could be reassured that they had found the correct burial site of the boy king, along with its rumored treasures. Carter asked the Asian woman if he could re-take the photograph. She handed over the camera and moved out of the way. Or so he thought. When he looked at the photograph, there she was behind him in the photograph, smiling broadly. Carter was about to protest the ruining of an otherwise perfect selfie, when a sudden burst of light blinded him. A few minutes later, when it seemed less bright and safe to re-open his eyes, he saw that he was again surrounded by the people in his expedition. Gone were the strangely-dressed people speaking English in odd accents. Carter had returned to 1922.
I had fun making up a story around this visual assignment. As you may have guessed, I chose Historical Selfies for my second visual assignment. I’ve written in previous posts how I enjoy history, so this was an easy choice. I used a selfie I took during a trip to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt in November 2008. The tour group consisted of English-speaking tourists from the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. I incorporated this bit in the fictional story I created to go with the composite photo. While going into Tutankhamen’s tomb cost an additional 100 LE (Egyptian pounds), photographs were not allowed inside the tomb, so I had to content myself with a selfie of the signage.
I used Photoshop CS6 to create the composite photo for the “selfie.” I created a composite only once before, in another GMU course, and I had forgotten how to do it. Luckily, I remembered there was a YouTube tutorial. After viewing the tutorial, I still had trouble being able to create a composite. I was using two non-JPEG files and thought that might have been the problem. After converting the PNG and the GIF file to JPEG, I was able to create the composite. Below is a gallery of the original photos I used (and considered using) for this assignment: