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Posts tagged ‘CSI’

The Real CSI

Keith Smith was our visiting lecturer for the day. He is a Crime scene investigator (CSI) and talked to us about his job and how he uses photography to capture evidence. I was really interested and was happy when Keith said we were going to be allowed to have a go with some exercises.

The first exercise my group did was using UV powder to find fingerprints on bottles in the darkroom. We used a stick with a moving magnet in to pick up the powder and brush it over the bottle. We all had a go doing this then photographing the finger prints using a UV light and a UV tourch.

This was my image of my fingerprints. I wanted a brush to brush off the excess powder, but I think you can see the fingerprint quite well. I should have zoomed in closer to the fingerprint.

The next exercise was a simulated Chemical Biological Radiation and Nuclear crime scene (CBRN). These situations are where chemicals have often been used to cause death or in some cases assist suicide, so the air is dangerous. So usually the CSI would wear a full protective suit.  We had to wear gas masks (but I didn’t because of my glasses) and two pairs of gloves. I was given the task of operating the camera from the instrustions Bijash read out from a card, this was hard because not only was he hard to hear through the mask but my gloves made pressing the small buttons on the camera almost impossible. Kayleigh had the task of finding the bottle we needed to fingerprint and fingerprinting it with powder. Once she had done this she had to use acetate to lift the print off the bottle ready for photographing. We had to make sure to get the scale in the image so the print could be sized up to its original size.

Our next exercise was photographing footprints in water. This was made harder by the tiny space we had to set up our tripod over the water bath the prints were in. Keith had told us that shining a light straight over the print wouldn’t work because it would bounce back from the water ruining the print. So we decided to light it from the side with our camera straight over the print.

Our best image from the underwater shoot. I was holding the light shining on the print, Kayleigh was holding the tripod so it didn’t fall over and Bijash was operating the camera.

Our next exercise was to use make-up to create a black eye on one person in our group and see how by changing the lighting in the photograph we could change how badly the injury looked. This could be used in court to swing a verdict in one persons favour.

This image is darker to make the injury look worse, and Kayleigh is facing the side to show the extent of the injury.

This is an overposed image of Kayleighs injury. It reduced how bad the injury looks, but also gives her pale skin and this could make people think of drug addiction.

The next exercise we did involved putting on white suits, gloves, mask and goggles so we could feel what it was like to work in the suits. We had to photograph a footprint in sand making sure we got the indents of the print in the image.

Location of the print shoot.

Putting the print in context.

Our final shoeprint image lit from the side. Kayleigh was lighting the image, Bijash was holding the tripod so It didn’t fall over and I took the image.

Overall the day was very informative and quite fun. It was interesting to find out how a CSI works, and how different it is from the tv shows. I couldn’t do csi work myself, yes it would be interesting, but working round the worst humans everday, and death is something I couldn’t do. So it just makes me appreciate how strong CSI’s are as people.



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