Crime Scene Photography

Third edition by Edward M Robinson

eBook ISBN: 9780128027684

Hardcover ISBN: 9780128027646

Imprint: Academic Press

Published Date: 1st August 2016

Page Count: 800

As the title suggests this is the third edition of a book designed to provide information on crime scene photography.

It is huge, with 780 pages full of colour images and case studies this volume is an exceptional reference for the reader and practitioner with content delivered by 16 professionals.

As a reference document it is squarely aimed at those with an understanding of the principles of photography already under their belt. It is not suitable (due to the size) to take out and about and is ideal for the lecturers and teachers of this fine art. That said there is definitely scope for students to also use this book for research and to improve their practices.

The book is designed and formatted into chapters ranging from the history of imaging (from a US perspective) through to photogrammetry and other advanced techniques to use at many different types of scene.

The writing is easy to follow and understand (from my point of view) and there are very detailed and in depth explanations into the content of the chapters. These also include exercises for the reader (or students) to undertake which will improve their photography. Having not read the first or second edition of the book I am unsure if any are repeated exercises from those volumes or if they are updated. But they are all worthy of trial by even the most accomplished photographer in an effort to reduce skill fade, and learn/relearn lessons.

This book is full of practical advice and guidance with content even covering the use of drones for aerial imaging and photography.

The area of consideration, or even concern, in the UK is the chapter on Digital Imaging Processing of Evidentiary Photography. Post processing of images has really come to the for with digital photography. Most semi professionals have Photoshop or another version of editing software and this is where we do become stuck. A good photographer (rather than a good camera) will know what images they are taking and the resulting composition, framing and exposure/balances are all set to produce an image with sharpness, depth of field and to capture that crime scene as they see it. In the UK we do very little, if any, post processing while this book could lead people down the path our US cousins have adopted. Our courts are traditionally sceptical and our rules for the production of imaging only allow us to enhance the image, while in the US more actions can be taken. That said it may not be wrong but you are the one standing in the dock explaining to the jury what actions you took, why and that you did not change the image. Photoshop and its competitors gives an impression of manipulation and changes to images which could lead to challenges discounting evidence that may not have been altered through a misconception.

Photography is an art and this volume of knowledge provides many ideas, exercises, and new areas for the reader to practice. Some are older ideas and some are not suitable but without this book we may not have known about them.

At the end of the day the book is a fantastic resource for colleges and Universities, it is also a must read for those who take their forensic and crime scene photography seriously enough to continually invest in new skills. I do recommend this book and have been able to use some of the practices in my teaching, while also learning new ideas myself.

Reviewed by Gary Howard MCSFS