What is visual noise?
Although we tend to think of the word noise in terms of sound, the word is just as applicable to vision. Visual noise is anything that may distort, transform, block or add to what we see. Dirt, creases, wrinkles and irregularities in the weave are all forms of background noise on the Shroud. By photographing the shroud we add additional forms of visual noise and accentuate existing background noise.
Lighting may create small shadows between threads and among wrinkles and creases. Different kinds of film have different contrast characteristics that can significantly change the appearance of faint details. Even the color temperature of lighting can have a significant effect because different films are subject to different colors of light being reflected from the cloth. What we perceive in a photograph of the shroud may not be what we see if we look at the cloth with our own eyes.
Some people see coins over the eyes. They believe that they see enough detail to identify them as specific coins minted by Romans for Jewish use around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Some people have identified flowers and plants that are specific to the environs of Jerusalem. The list of things seen goes on and on. There are, supposedly, a hammer, a nail, a fluffy shaped sponge tied to a reed, a coil of rope, a pair of dice and part of a plaque with enough lettering in Greek, Latin and possibly Hebrew to identify it as saying, “Jesus of Nazareth.” But are these things really to be seen on the cloth? Are there any valid criteria for deciding if these objects are there?