The significant banality of crime scene photography

HSS Occasional Seminar
Event Speaker: 
Marcus Banks
Event Time: 
03:27 PM to 04:57 PM
Event Venue: 
LH 615


Forensic crime scene photography is a prime example of what photographic historian Elizabeth Edwards calls the "no style" style of photography. It attempts to present an objective and unmediated representation of the world, revealing visible evidence that is then of use in court room contexts. In this paper, based on interviews with crime scene photographers and other professional forensic scientists, I argue that British crime scene photography has a particular style and presents a very distinctive view of the world.


Marcus Banks is Professor of Visual Anthropology at the University of Oxford, UK. After completing his PhD with a comparative study of the social organisation of the Jain community in India and the UK, he trained as a documentary filmmaker and began to conduct research in the area of visual anthropology. His recent research has included studies of cinematographic practice in Colonial India, the history of ethnographic film, and the development of robust visual research methodologies. His current research is on the practice of forensic science, with a particular focus on the production and consumption of images in forensic contexts. With David Zeitlyn (Oxford) he recently published a second edition of his 2001 book Visual Methods in Social Research. A second edition of his 2007 book Using Visual Data in Qualitative Research is in preparation.