Krista Glover’s expertise in crime scene photography represents the melding of two attractions: image-making and morbid curiosity.
Crime scene photography creates a permanent visual record of the crime scene in the state in which it was indigenously found and plays a very big role throughout the entire investigation. It also plays a beneficial role in reconstructing the events which took place and give the decision makers of the judicial system a clear image of the crime.
Krista Glover is known for her Proactive crime scene photography skills. She is meticulous, neutral and technically and mindfully trained. It’s not at all surprising looking at her work and her service to the police department for more than 15 years now, that she displays a fascination with crime scene photography. Crime scene photography is an amalgamation of art and curiosity as so is her mind. She is fit mentally and physically to deal with all the crouching and stooping and bending that her work requires from her.
In every crime scene investigations, the foremost step is to secure the crime scene.
Next, the photographer should assess the available light and weather conditions and adjust camera settings very precisely. Crime scenes can be indoors, outside or both; they can be vehicles, include multiple rooms, or any combination of locations, therefore no single camera setting will work for all crime scenes.
The photographer should click photographs before anything is disturbed, progressively working through the scene from outside to close-up pictures. Many shots should be taken, from the entire scene, to medium shots to show the relationship of evidence to the overall scene. Just like a television program will show the viewer the outside of a building to establish where the characters are going, the crime scene photographer should capture the whole scene first using wide-angle shots covering the entire scene from the approach and through every area. Close-up images of evidence can be taken out of context, so establishing the scene first with wide and medium shots is critical. In addition, photographs should be taken looking up from the scene to capture evidence or environmental factors that may be above the scene.
The next series of shots should include victims (if present) to show locations, injuries and condition. Victims can be highly discrete with every case. There are cases where family members get involved in an argument in their private matter that heats up and turns to getting physical within the family members. Sometimes, wife and mother of a man get into physical fights which might get fatal as well; in other cases mother was involved in her child’s murder and then police was called by neighbours. Thus, no victims, single victims or multiple victims might be involved at the site.
Then each piece of evidence should be photographed to illustrate where it was found. This establishes the relationships of the evidence to the victim, the victim to the room and so on. These photographs should be taken from straight above or straight on at right angles, eliminating potential distance distortions. Each piece of evidence should be photographed with a scale to indicate size and without a scale.
Photographs should be taken before evidence markers are placed, then again after. These initial shots are important to prove that no one has tampered with the crime scene.
If investigators mark new evidence, the whole series of shots should be repeated, including all evidence shots. These photos should include the entire piece of evidence and a scale to indicate size.Photographs should accurately document the lighting conditions at the scene. After those photos are taken, if necessary, a photographer will add artificial light, like a flash, to compensate for a camera’s limitations in capturing the visible range of light under certain conditions.
Sometimes environmental factors such as rain, snow or traffic can make conditions difficult for photography. The photographer must work quickly to capture as much visual documentation as possible from a deteriorating scene.
If a victim must be moved or requires treatment, the photographer can go back to document the victim’s injuries. Various techniques using special lighting and colored filters can highlight injuries (bruising, scarring) and healing status.
There is no prescribed length of time it takes to photographically document a crime scene. As soon as the police was called, the photographers accompany and commence the work. The overall time spent depends on the size and complication in the crime scene, how much there is to document and environmental factors like weather or danger to the investigative team. It can consist of thousands of photographs and hours of work.
Photography should be used as part of the documentation for all physical crime scenes, including traffic collisions, burglaries, homicides, domestic violence or any number of crimes against people or property.
Photographs, however, can be misleading and confusing to the viewer. And so, crime scene photographers must ensure their work is both ethical and honest while capturing as much accurate information and detail as possible. Documenting all components of a crime scene is a major part when trying to club together what happened, how it happened and who did it.
Crime scenes are typically full of activity and often unpredictable, with first responders assisting victims and investigators beginning their work. Even in the most ideal situation, capturing a photographic evidence can be challenging. An experienced photographer will know to take photos at all stages of the investigation and that it is better to have too many than not enough images.
If the crime scene photography does not thoroughly and accurately document the entire scene, it could be detrimental to the investigation and potentially damaging during a criminal trial.
Crime scene photographers must have specific knowledge, including:
Forensic photographs are the foremost required for investigatory purposes and prosecuting a crime. The reason being that most of the evidence is transitory i.e. –
Photographs help preserve not only the most fleeting evidence — like the shape of a blood stain that will soon be mopped up — but also the placement of items in a room and the relation of evidence to other objects. Such images can prove vital to investigators long after the crime scene is gone.
Some of the common yet classic work of detailing performed by investigators include –
So while the CSI scrapes off the dried blood without smearing any prints, lifts several hairs without disturbing any trace evidence and smashes through a wall in the living room, he’s considering all of the necessary steps to preserve the evidence in its current form, what the lab can do with this evidence in order to reconstruct the crime or identify the criminal, and the legal issues involved in making sure this evidence is admissible in court.
Crime scene investigation is a massive undertaking which needs thorough knowledge and precision by the crime investigation photographer as well as the investigator.
Forensic photographers work with law enforcement and produce a photographic record of crime scenes. To begin a career as a forensic photographer it is necessary to complete a degree in photography, or to have a high school diploma and complete some courses in forensics and photography. Also refer our blog for further details.