forensic imagery and emotional response

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by digger, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. digger

    digger TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forum and I hope I've posted this in the right place. This might seem a wee bit random so please bear with me. I'm writing a dissertation on forensic imagery (crime scene photos etc) and people's emotional response to images based on the format (colour, b&w, high res, low res, etc.) and especially how these might be used in court. Basically I'm asking do lawyers choose photos to use in court based on a perceived emotional response, to sway a jury one way or the other. Also, does the emotional response exist.

    Unfortunately, I don't know a huge amount about photography in general, other than what I do for work (I'm an archaeolgist). I was hoping that some of you might have some opinions or insights into how people respond to photography. Have you noticed that people respond in a certain way to various formats? Do you choose your formats in order to get across a particular emotion or feeling?

    I would love to hear from you and find out what you think. Also, if anyone knows of any books or journals they think might be useful, I would be so grateful if you could let me know. The project seemed like such a good idea at the beginning, but now I'm not so sure....:meh:

    Cheers!!!
     
  2. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I have a potentially good resource for you.
    The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the AF Medical Examiner's Office in Washington, DC, USA has a team of forensic pathologists and anthropologists that travel to all mass disasters where there is loss of human life and US citizens are involved. There are photographers attached to that group.

    They have great and unique experience in dealing with forensic imagery and people's response to them. If this seems like a potential resource for you, if you like just let me know and I'll search out a contact point.
    (I used to be with them but all of my personal contacts have long since moved on)
     
  3. digger

    digger TPF Noob!

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    That sounds fantastic. If you could find a contact for me I would be so grateful!
     
  4. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I presume you've looked at Weegee's (Arthur Fellig) work? You could write a dissertation on people's response to his work alone.

    Gruesome seems to be best. I dunno about criminal cases, but a very prominent malpractice and wrongful death attorney who is a family friend once brought me along to a meeting of the NC bar association to discuss caps on monetary damages. He came well-equipped with very gruesome medical malpractice photos...the same he uses in court. They were rather effective, at least for me.
     
  5. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Not sure how lawyers deal with the photos used. I would imagine it is very well thought out. The classic text is "Ways of Seeing" by John Berger. Also check out the writings of the incomparable Susan Sontag.

    Love And Bass
     
  6. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Here is the link to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner's Office.
    IMO, the best bet is to ask to speak to the Staff Physical Anthropologist -
    They are relatively good at answering actual letters; you might do better to write.

    Lew
     
  7. digger

    digger TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a million for all the suggestions, very much appreciated. And thanks also for the link to the ME's office, should be very useful.

    Cheers
     

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