Dark Archive: The Afterlife of Forensic Photographs

Publication Type:
Photography and Ontology: Unsettling Images, 2019, pp. 41 - 55
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This chapter explores what happens to old police photographs. When taken, these photographs capture the aftermath of a crime and are intended to have an evidentiary purpose. After the conclusion of proceedings, or the closure of the police file, these images sometimes acquire new value, separate from their role in a criminal investigation. Drawing upon the work of Luc Sante and Peter Doyle, this chapter seeks to understand what is forensic about forensic photographs and what else they might contain. It examines the effects of exhibiting police photographs in the cultural sphere, in their afterlife, exposing the aesthetic and affective attributes of evidentiary photography.
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