In this photo of Prince Andrew, Duke of York (taken on a Kodak disposable camera):

enter image description here

We see it is taken with a flash (assuming that bright light on the window is a reflection of the flash). But if rays of light are coming straight out of the camera, why are there black shadows behind the girl in the middle (Virginia Roberts Guiffre) and on the woman on the right (Ghislaine Maxwell). It looks like the light source is coming from the left to cause those shadows. Why aren't those shadows being filled in by the flash? Seeing as the flash has had time to reach the window and back to the camera?

How would such shadows occur?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ BTW, for the general PSE community: This is the photo presented as proof that UK Prince Andrew has met with Virginia Roberts Guiffre, who has accused him of having sex with her when she was a teenager, in connection with Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew has denied ever meeting her, or at least cannot recall ever meeting her. As is the case with many politically charged cases these days, there are a lot of people performing armchair forensics to try to debunk photographs or try to "prove" they are doctored. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 1:54

2 Answers 2


It looks like the light source is coming from the left to cause those shadows.

Because it is.

enter image description here

The shadows appear as a result of the difference in the angle of the flash compared to the lens.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this could explain the shadows on the right of the girl. It would need a flash at least two head spans distance appart. She is standing on the left but the shadows are going to the right! This would explain the shadows for the woman though. \$\endgroup\$
    – zooby
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 0:55
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ As the camera faces the subjects, the flash is to the left and very slighly above the lens. As such, the flash will leave a shadow to the right. It doesn't matter which eye was used. It only matters that the flash is to the left of the lens as the camera faces the subjects. \$\endgroup\$
    – chili555
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ The distance between the flash and the lens seems small, but it is significant across a room. That difference is how 3D stereo vision works. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @zooby The greater the ratio of distance behind the subject compared to the camera distance to subject, the larger the shadow will be (assuming the subject is larger than the light source). \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 23:40

You can work out the length of the shadow with some simple trigonometry:

flash distance diagram


  • A is the distance between the flash source and the camera lens
  • B is the length of the shadow
  • X is the distance between the lens and the subject
  • Y is the distance between the subject and the wall behind

The angle θ is the same for both triangles formed, so using simple trigonometry:

tan(θ) = A / X

And also:

tan(θ) = B / Y


A / X = B / Y
B = A * X / Y

If we assume that A is approximately 5cm, X about 300cm, and Y maybe 400cm, then B works out to be 3.75cm. Which is about what we see.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ When I look at your schematic, why do I find myself thinking about llamas and media player software? :P \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 0:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does it whip its ass? :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Dunn
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 9:24

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