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Photography of Faded or Concealed Bruises on Human Skin

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 63 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2013 Pages: 103-125
H.C. Baker; N. Marsh; I. Quinones
Date Published
February 2013
23 pages
The aim of this study was to compare four photographic techniques [visible white light, cross-polarized white light, reflected infrared (IR) light, and reflected ultraviolet (UV) light] and to evaluate their use in photographing bruises of varying visibility.
In total, 75 bruises were photographed. Of these 75 bruises, 32 were a result of paintballing and were photographed 3 times over 10 days. The remaining 43 bruises were acquired through accidental trauma to the skin and were photographed on one occasion. The results from this study show that white light and cross-polarized light displayed the highest contrast significantly (p less than 0.05), regardless of skin color, age of bruise, or visibility of bruise. A subjective study revealed that cross-polarized light was more efficient for visualizing bruises; the area of bruising and color of the bruise was more defined. Reflected UV photography was relatively ineffective at documenting bruises. Reflected IR photography successfully documented some bruises. On dark skin, reflected IR photography showed a greater potential to enhance bruises compared to light skin. However, white light and cross-polarized white light still achieved better results for contrast on all skin tones. (Published Abstract)