3-14-11: Thoughtography

March 14, 2011 at 7:50 am 4 comments


Ted Serios, "Untitled (Parthenon)," May 13, 1965. Polaroid Photograph. Photography Collections, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The new exhibition at UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, Psychic Projections/Photographic Impressions, shows dozens of “paranormal photographs” taken in the 1960s by Ted Serios.

The photographs are of Serios’s face, but the exposures occasionally contain other images, which Serios claimed he was thinking about at the time.

Curator Emily Hauver gives Tom a tour of the exhibition and explains how thoughtographs work.

Psychic Projections/Photographic Impressions is up through March 27.


Entry filed under: Arts and Culture, On Air. Tags: , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joe Strube  |  March 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Really? Is it just because it is classified under Art and presented at a respectable academic institution that this gets a soft interview?

    She was able to present the work as a result of scientific method – not in words but certainly in the description.

    The manner of description deserved a slightly more critical question or two – perhaps “where their detractors at the time of the experiments?” and “is it possible that he lost his gift or feared exposure?”

    I don’t expect hard news or Ira Flatow every minute I listen to WYPR, but I do expect an intellectually honest conversation, even on issues of faith and religion that are clearly the core of this exhibit.

  • 2. M Lemas  |  March 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Tom –
    I do hope you realize your audience is a bit smarter than to accept, without critical examination or your polite questioning, the claims made by this exhibit. I was unaware of Mr. Serios and his “paranormal photography” until today’s story and was delighted to hear about it, but I figured at the end you, or your guest, would provide some critical balance. Instead, you left the listener with the impression that these “thoughtographs” are really images projected from this guys mind.

    What happened to NPR’s commitment to critical thinking?

    I would hope that Maryland Morning would post a correction or follow up statement about that impression you gave your audience.
    I’m all for the “photographic art” the guy did and the clever technique he used to make it, but let’s put all the information out there for balance.
    To be fair, you were not the only guilty party here, the UMBC gallery website carelessly portrays the work as: “the photographic images in this exhibition illustrate Serios’s paranormal abilities, reveal themes and unique characteristics of his “thoughtographs,” and offer insight into the extensive body of scientific experiments whose results have never been disproven.” Shame on them! Just because something has never been disproven, doesn’t make it true. In fact, a quick search on the internet suggests his technique was exposed long ago. However, you can’t always trust what you read on the internet – it needs to be checked out. I do hope I can trust what is presented on Maryland Morning in future programs.

  • 3. Tom Moore  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Hello. I’m the director of arts management at UMBC, and we appreciate the coverage from Tom Hall and Maryland Morning.

    Visitors to the exhibition will find that the curator has made every effort to provide both sides of the picture (no pun intended). The viewpoints of both supporters and detractors of Ted Serios are represented in extensive wall text and explanatory notes. Please note that the Library will be closed for UMBC’s spring break from Sunday, March 20th through Saturday, March 26th. More information at http://www.umbc.edu/arts.

  • 4. Jeff Martens  |  March 30, 2011 at 12:05 am

    It’s very common for frauds like Serios to fool scientists, but less common for them to fool experienced magicians.


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