Don't know if this has been brought up before, but here is my thesis:
Lets start with the facts:
1. There is a roll of film of an unknown shooter, but it is believed to be that of Thibeaux-Brignolle:https://dyatlovpass.com/camera-thibeaux-brignolle
2. It contains frame No. 17 (the alleged Yeti picture)
3. This roll of film wasn't inside a camera but inside the groups common bag of stuff.
4. It is therefore currently assumed that Thibeaux-Brignolle had a camera, but it got lost or not registered as evidence.
5. A camera, identified as Zolotaryov's with a nearly full film of images taken before the expedition was found in the tent. He didn't use that camera on this trek.
6. Zolotaryov was also found with a camera around his neck, the film got severely damaged.
I propose that this camera was actually that of Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov used it to capture the yeti picture.
- Why would Zolotaryov bring two cameras on the trip but never use them? I suggest he only brought the one in the tent but didn't use it because the film was already full and he didn't bring any extras.
- Thibeaux-Brignolle was a jokester and liked to be photographed. He quickly made friends with Zolotaryov and they took some pictures of each other.
- Frame no. 10 was not a disgruntled or tired Zolotaryov, but actually his attempt to strike a pose. Back then it was still more common, esp. with older people to keep a stern look when being photographed.
- Zolotaryov was using the camera from Frame No 11 onwards. Some pictures are blurry because he didn't know how to operate it in the beginning.
- He took the pictures of Thibeaux-Brignolle in the snow
- Frame No. 17 was also taken by Zolotaryov (still unsure how to focus) and really shows (at least what he believed) to be a Yeti
- It wasn't noticed by anybody else and nobody believed him
- He couldn't prove his sighting until the film was developed
- Zolotaryov immediately asked for a fresh film so he could take many pictures when he saw it again
- Thibeaux-Brignolle let him keep the camera for the time being because he felt Zolotaryov was really worried about this
- On the fateful evening, the group made fun of Zolotaryov, writing that famous line in the Evening Otorten
- Later, maybe they heard a noise and Zolotaryov wanted to investigate, maybe Thibeaux-Brignolle just asked him to step outside to discuss the matter because Zolotaryov was angry that nobody believed him
- Then the disaster struck (in this case, maybe the Yeti)
This could explain the cameras, frame No. 17, why that film only contained 17 pictures (but was unloaded from the camera) and why they made the joke about the Yeti in the Newsletter. Of course believing that he really saw a Yeti is pretty wild. Maybe he actually photographed the Mansi Hunter but believed he was a Yeti. In that case the disaster could have been the Mansi or something entirely unrelated.
The damaged film could of course shed some light on this. Does anybody know if there are scans of the entire film roll and not just these enlarged areas shown here?https://dyatlovpass.com/controversy?lid=1&flp=1#zolotaryovcamera