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The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Mm11

The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Regist10

The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo?

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The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Empty The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo?

Post by Jill Havern on 25.04.19 14:46

This photograph of Madeleine McCann, the so-called ‘Make-Up Photo’, has probably caused more debate than any other, except the so-called ‘Last Photo’.

The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Zzzzzz10The Make-Up Photo

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The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Zzzzzz11The Last Photo

There is no serious doubt that each is a genuine photo. But there is a vital common question in relation to both photos, namely: when was each taken?

So far as the ‘Last Photo’ is concerned, very strong evidence, but not amounting  to proof, has been presented on CMOMM that the Last Photo was taken at lunchtime on Sunday 29 April and not lunchtime on Thursday 3 May.

The photo I really want is to discuss again is the ‘Make-Up Photo’. And I will get straight to the point: could the Make-Up Photo have been taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Was it taken in Praia da Luz that week?


When did it first appear?

It was a still picture included in this very strange 2-minute video produced by Madeleine’s godfather, Jon Corner, and released on 1 May 2010:

It was presumably distributed with the knowledge and consent of the McCanns. There is no commentary on the video. There is an emotional background song running throughout. Its images emphasise the abduction story and show images of Kate and Gerry campaigning, researching, talking to people and walking about, Kate clutching Cuddle Cat.

It has been said that the video was made as some kind of ‘warning’. Others note the strange way that the words shown on the screen are alternateiy fashioned by coming together, or break apart, and see some kind of hidden message in all of this. I am personally unable to see these things.   

What other pictures of Madeleine are shown on this video?

The Make-Up Photo is the second of three images shown in close-up on the video. The three pictures are:

1 ‘Floorboard Photo’ – Madeleine on a floor, next to the skirting board, looking up coyly to the cameraman – seen from 1 min 01 sec to 1 min 14 sec on the film (13 seconds)

The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Zzzzzz12Floorboard Photo

2 ‘Make-Up Photo’ – seen from 1 min 14 sec to 1 min 19 sec (5 seconds)

3 ‘Ice Lolly Photo’ – Madeleine sucking an ice-lolly: 1 min 19 sec to 1 mon 23 sec (4 seconds).    

The Mystery of the Make-Up Photo - was it taken on the same day as the Last Photo? Zzzzzz11 Ice Lolly Photo

Is Madeleine wearing a hair bead on any of the photos?

Yes. On the Make-Up Photo and on the Ice Lolly Photo. Madeleine is also wearing a hair bead on the Last Photo. On all three photos the hair bead looks a similar colour i.e. pink.

Can Madeleine’s clothing be seen on any of the photos?

Yes. On the Floorboard Photo. She is wearing a pink dress or smock with narrow pink straps over her shoulders. This looks identical to the pink dress or smock she is wearing on the Last Photo.

Are there any clues as to the location of any of the three photos?

The Floorboard Photo was taken inside. The Make-Up Photo was taken outside and shows a background stucco wall, coloured yellow/ochre. Stucco walls of this kind are extremely common in the Mediterranean but unusual in  the U.K. The blue patch has been identified by some as a bright blue coloured plastic chair. The Ice Lolly Photo was taken inside and one can see what looks like indoor furniture in the background.    

At what age were these three pictures taken?

Most of those who have viewed these three pictures and the Last Photo agree that they were taken at about the same age.

Does Madeleine’s hair length look any different on these photos?

Most agree that on all four photos, including the Last Photo, Madeleine’s hair looks the same length.

How did the McCann explain the Make-Up Photo?

They said that Madeleine had been playing with Mummy’s make-up box. On the same day that the video was released, Daily Mail journalist Daniel Bates wrote: “Kate and Gerry McCann have released a new picture of their daughter Madeleine as they prepare to commemorate tomorrow’s third anniversary of her disappearance. The photo shows her when she was three after a raid on the dressing-up box. She has a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace and is wearing blue eyeshadow. It was taken weeks before the fateful family holiday to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished”.

The story of the ‘raid on the dressing-box has been queried by many. The key concerns have been: who put the necklace in Madeleine, who out the hair bead on Madeleine, and could Madeleine have applied the neat-looking blue eyeshadow herself?

The McCanns have not revealed the date and time stamp of any of the photos (except the Last Photo).

What was the public reaction to the Make-Up Photo?

Many people were concerned se about it. A list of reactions is posted in CMOMM here:

Mark Williams-Thomas, the self-proclaimed child abuse expert, said it should not have been released. Perhaps, more significantly, an article in The Independent said this about it: d-1961380.html

“People these days are increasingly protective of practically ANY image of children, parents are forbidden from taking photographs at school plays, photos in which children are visible in background shots at tourist attractions have been confiscated etc. Practically any image of a child is seen as being of interest to those with paedophile tendencies. I don't claim to understand why this is the case, but that's the way that things appear to be.

“In my view, which is of course completely out of step with the mainstream thinking on these issues, a child wearing make-up, or adult clothes certainly does not in itself constitute a pornographic or inappropriate image. However, if a fully clothed child standing in a street can be considered material of interest for a paedophile, then photographs of this nature should certainly fall within the same category. I am male, and like practically every other male that I have socialised with since from the age of about 6, to a greater or lesser we have all been exposed to pornography. I'm not great fan of pornography, nor have I been exposed to a great deal, but I could certainly give you a pretty good description of the stereotypical images that the producers of this product tend to use. It's a definite genre, with a definite style, camera angles, lighting, model poses etc.

I know what picture of a child playing looks like, my parents have albums of pictures of my sister as a child playing with make-up, dressing up. I also understand when I'm seeing the deliberate sexualisation of a child. I also know which end of that spectrum that those images lie.

I've previously critisised people for expressing these sorts of views, but when you see the three Madeleine pictures in that video in close succession you start asking: what's the probability that this is just some sort of accidental pose? I really don't like the answer.

I'm not a photographer, nor a film maker, nor actively involved in the media, and so if I can pick up on these references, then Jon Corner [who produced the latest Madeleine video] most certainly can”.



A working hypothesis is that the Last Photo was taken at lunch-time on Sunday 29 April and that the other three were taken at a photo shoot that afternoon, with someone arranging and re-arranging the position of Madeleine’s hear bead.

These are the questions that seem to me most relevant:

1 Is the dress/smock top that Madeleine is wearing in the Floorboard Phot the same as the one in the Last Photo?

2 Is the hair bead the same in the three photos where it appears?

3 Is Madeleine’s hair length the same in all four photos?

4 Does she look the same age in all the photos?

5 Do we have any other evidence (apart from the McCanns’ statement) of when the Make-Up photo was taken?

6 Could Madeleine have put on the necklace and hair bead and applied the blue eye shadow herself?

7 What evidence is there, if any, that any of the three photos could not have been taken on the very same day as the Last Photo?

8 Do we have any other photographic or other evidence of when any of these three photos were taken?  


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Jill Havern
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