Photograph in `Baltimore' raises question

September 29, 2001|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

A photograph of former state Sen. Francis X. Kelly in the October issue of Baltimore Magazine has one not-so-small problem -- it appears as if he is exposing himself.

Kelly, 61, said he didn't notice until his sons called it to his attention. They were more upset about it than he was, and told him they thought the photo was doctored, he said.

The photo of Kelly, flanked by his four sons, accompanies a feature story about the former Baltimore County senator and his family-owned business, Kelly & Associates Insurance Group. It shows him with his hands clasped in front of him at crotch level.

The article starts out talking about how Kelly likely owes his success to clean living and self denial. "Everybody who saw it in my office thought it was doctored and were embarassed for me," Kelly said of the photo. "People I respect say that it was doctored."

Not so, insisted Richard M. Basoco, the magazine's chief operating officer.

"I guess if you stretch it someone could think that," Basoco said. "I've seen the picture and it looks to me like it's a thumb or forefinger."

He said he was confident the photo was not doctored and has no plans to recall the issue.

Basoco said no one from the Kelly family had complained to the magazine and he was not aware there was a problem until contacted by The Sun yesterday.

After checking further with his staff late Friday, Basoco said he learned that two representatives of Kelly's firm had been to the magazine's office on Thursday to look at the original film.

Kelly said he didn't contact the magazine to complain because he felt it was best just to drop the issue. He said he has no plan to sue the magazine. "I have no animosity toward the management of the magazine, because I can't imagine they would condone something like this."

He said he would expect action to be taken against the person responsible if it turns out the photo was doctored.

Brian Kelly, one of Kelly's sons, said he found the photo offensive to his father's dignity. "I don't know for a 100 percent certainty, but it looked like it was doctored," the younger Kelly said. "Most people on the street -- 90 percent -- would say it's doctored."

However, he said his father has large hands and it is possible that shadows and a bent knuckle gave a different appearance.

"I would hope that Baltimore Magazine wasn't doing it intentionally," the son said. "If it was doctored, then I would be really, really ticked."

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