Today we were lucky enough to be visited by a Crime Scene Investigator ( CSI ) and spent the day learning about the challenges and methods employed whilst photographing crime scenes in order to obtain photographs as evidence.
Crime Scene investigators work with the following Locards principle in mind :
Every contact leaves a trace
Alfonse Bertillion is considered the Father of forensics. Until c1900 there was no formal way of forensically identifying someone . He worked out a way of standardising an individuals identification. He then moved on from this and started using fingerprints. Was one of the first to use a camera at crime scene to substantiate evidence.
Photographs can be key in finding a person guilty or innocent. The CSI needs to be able to walk the jury into a crime scene, therefore it has to be documentary in nature. Initially an overall shot should be captured in order to set the scene. The crime scene should be captured in its entirety.
The CSI need to look for evidence types in a crime scene, you cannot just walk in as crucial evidence can be destroyed or altered. This then needs to be numbered in order to provide visual evidence to identify where it was found. Then need to take a shot to show context of evidence within the scene. – Then need to take shots of the individual evidence. It is important to scale and label photograph in order to submit the image as solid evidence.
The typical crime scenes that a CSI may come across are burglaries ( Domestic, commercial ), Disaster Victim ID ( international role of CSI’s ) , Chemical , Biological , Radiological incidents ( Eg Terrorism incidents ) , Covert work – gathering of forensic evidence.
Problem of taking a crime scene photograph. – photo is to take the crime scene into a court. places the exhibits in context to the crime scene. Skin, bodily fluids, blood, weapon, fibres, footprints – all types of evidence. ear prints and mouth prints are unique to you.
CSI photography is about being a competent photographer in challenging circumstances.