Forensic Photography By: Allie Gruber and Olivia Carmichael
Forensic Photography • Requirements: • High ethical and professional standing • Employed in Forensic Science including photography. • Have minimum of 3 years working with photography • 40 classroom hours of photography • You must receive two letters- one from an individual and one from supervisor.
What’s the point? • The point of a forensic photographer is to capture the evidence that you may not have noticed at the scene, the lighting and bring out key evidence at the scene. • Some photographers take close-up pictures of bloodstains, cuts, tears in clothes. • For certain times, special light sources are needed for photography. • They record the original scene as it is when they arrive. • Gives a permanent visual record to many investigators. • These photos can be used in court for visual evidence against the suspect.
Equipment Sync card for electronic flashes Camera protection Color film and black and white film • Camera • Normal lens • Wide-angle lens • Close-up lens • Filters • Flashes • Tripod • Film • Notebook/pen • Ruler • flashlight
Steps in Recording a Scene • Secure the scene • Take preliminary notes • Take overview photographs • Make a sketch • Record items of evidence
Skills of a Forensic Photographer • You must correctly expose the film, and when shooting photos, forensic photographers must shoot photos with the maximum depth of field. This insures that the photos are very sharp, and clear for any visual reference that might be needed. • Photographers must know how to shoot photos in every type of lighting. A crime can happen anywhere, so the forensic photographers must know how to properly expose photos, even in the hardest areas to expose.
Educational Paths • There is no required route to become a forensic photographer, but schooling is key though when trying to find a photographer. • Many successful photographers have degrees in science and in photography. • Many receive an undergraduate degree in photography and in criminology. • Forensic photographers can be more successful when they know how to use computers, for any digital work through photos. • Key classes: science, criminology, computer courses, and photography
Case Study William Lester Suff • His real name was Bill Lee Suff, his serial name was the “Riverside Killer.” • He not only killed over 13 women but he also beat his two month old daughter to death, his wife also helped him kill their daughter. • He would drive in a van until he would spot his victims, then he would stab them to death with the knife he carried with him. • Many people described Bill Lee as a “friendly nerd who was always doing things to help people.”
Case Study Cont. Suff’s Victims William Lester in Court
Interview with Philip Cicero • 1. Q- What are the classifications of a forensic photographer/ whattype of educational background does it involve?A-Here are the minimum requirements for my position from the State ofTennessee website.MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONSEducation and Experience: Successful completion of two years of coursework (i.e., 90 quarter hours) from an accreditedcollege or university in photography, visual arts or digital imaging,including at least nine quarter hours in photography, andexperience equivalent to two years of professional and/or forensicphotographic work. • ANSWER CONTINUES ON NEXT PAGE
Interview Cont. • Substitution of Experience for Education: Qualifying full-timeprofessional and/or forensic photographic work may besubstituted for the required education on a year-for-year basis to amaximum of two years (e.g. experience equivalent to oneyear of full-time work in professional and/or forensic photography maysubstitute for one year [i.e., 45 quarter hours] of therequired education, including the nine quarter hours in photography).Necessary Special Qualifications: (1) must possess a valid motorvehicle operator’s license, (2) must pass a physical andpsychological examination by licensed physicians, (3) must havefingerprints on file with the Tennessee Bureau ofInvestigation, (4) must have a good moral character as determined byinvestigation, (5) must be willing to carry and use afirearm, (6) must successfully complete the Tennessee Bureau ofInvestigation crime scene investigations training course andthe Tennessee Bureau of Investigation firearms and weapons trainingcourse within the first year of employment.I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Commercial Photography and haveworked in Photography for over 20 years.
Interview Cont. • 2. What is a typical day for a forensic photographer?Typically, my day to day duties include photographing fingerprintsfound on evidence from crime scenes. Then I take those photographs andenhance them in the computer for Latent Fingerprint examiner to makecomparisons. The best way to describe the enhancing process is that Iimprove the clarity of the fingerprint using a computer and softwarethat tracks and records everything that is done to the image. Thesoftware that I use then is able to verify that nothing was altered ormodified. All of the enhancements are done using a computer but arebased on traditional photography. Such as lighten, darken, dodge, burn,sharpen, adjust contrast and so on.Then as you can imagine I have a collection of a whole lot of digitalimages. I am also responsible for maintaining a database of all of thoseimages as well as archiving and storing all of those images so that atany point from now on we will be able to find and retrieve thosepictures.
Interview Cont. • 3. Is photography your whole job or do you do other things on theside of this?In addition to my day to day duties. I also am assigned to work as partof a Violent Crime Response Team. Which means I need to be prepared tobe on call and be ready to go out on Crime Scenes day or night. I alsoteach TBI Agents and Police Officers from across the state of Tennesseeabout how to operate their digital cameras as well as what to takepictures of at crime scenes. I also make enlargements of fingerprintsand charts for Court presentations. And I'm responsible for any otherphotographic needs of the TBI.
Interview Cont.4. What are the pros/cons of being in the forensicsciences/photography? Pros Cons Forensic Photography is a very exacting job. There is no room formistakes. There can be some very difficult stuff to see on Crime Scene duty asyou can imagine. • It is a really great job. • Every day is different. You never know what you are going to be doingthe next day. • Photographing fingerprints can be very difficult, so that is fun for aphotographer to get to be creative to figure out how to make the bestpicture. • Every day I'm reminded that I get to do something to really help theworld and help make it a better place.
Bibliography • International Association for Identification. International Association for Identification. 20 Jan. 2009 http://www.theiai.org/certifications/imaging/requirements.php. • "Forensic Photography." Westchester gov.com. 2008. 20 Jan. 2009 http://www.westchestergov.com/labsresearch/ForensicandTox/forensic/photo/forphotoframeset.htm. • "Forensic Photography for the Crime Scene Technician." Crime Scene and Evidence Photography. 16 Jan. 2009. 20 Jan. 2009 http://www.crime-scene-investigator.net/fet-ol.html. • "Forensic Photographer." School in the USA.com. 2009. The EI Group. 20 Jan. 2009 http://www.schoolsintheusa.com/careerprofiles_details.cfm?carid=1105. • http://www.cybersleuths.com/billkelly/bkchap2.htm • http://www.trutv.com/graphics/photos/serial_killers/predators/bill_suff/7-1Bill-Suff-with-his-daugh.jpg • http://ezinearticles.com/?Photography---Forensic-Photography&id=187123