Forensic Photography

Forensic photography has long used skilled photographers to document a wide variety of items or remains to be used as evidence in a criminal case. The forensic photographs require a strict adherence to undisturbed contexts and scientific photography. The anthropological and archaeological environments can be considered from the same point of view. In essence, the paleophotographer is collecting evidence from cases that have long gone cold. In addition, many artifacts and anatomical features require the paleophotographer to be skilled in scientific photographic methods. This would include the consideration of perspective in the photograph. In order to accomplish the goal of accurately photographing cultural material, care must be taken to remain scientific and not to objectify the remains or object.

As previously discussed, macrophotography and photography of biopsied material or artifacts retrieved from within remains or bundles need to be photographed with orientation to scale. Many times, the biopsied material or artifacts are radiographed outside of the remains. The photograph with orientation to scale increases the interpretability of these images.

Many archaeological items such as grave goods (Figure 1.18) or unique anthropological variations such as cranial modification need to be photographed with orientation to scale. These photographs can then be compared to the radiographs or endoscopic images of the same item or subject. If the paleoimaging project involves a museum, photographs taken that are associated with other paleoimaging data may also serve as a formal record of museum holdings and may be recorded in the museum catalog.

Figure 1.18 Photographic documentation of grave goods with scale. shown here is a nonper-pendicular photograph demonstrating an error in photographic perspective.

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