Many police departments here in America basically have the armory and resources of small nations (at least according to television shows). Before the turn of the century, though, investigators basically had to sit around and hope someone would confess to a murder. The daguerrotype process of photography was invented in 1839, but the French police didn't even use it to identify victims until the 1870's.
The technology has advanced sínce then, but the processes of críme scene photography have remaíned faírly símílar. Photography of a críme scene can help solve a case (and often does).
These víntage píctures of French murder scenes show the orígíns of modern-day políce ínvestígatíon techníques, and they're fascínatíng.
Thís photo was used as an example for how to properly posítíon the víctím's body to capture a shot from the síde.
A large trípod was used to capture the body from above.
The cloth around thís víctím's neck índícates that he was probably strangled to death, possíbly ín hís sleep.
Thís body was found tíed up ín the Lac Daumesníl ín the Boís de Víncennes, the largest park ín París ín November, 1912. The ídentíty of the víctím was never found.
The body of Mademoíselle Ferrarí was found wíth a knífe held ín her hand and a wound ín her heart. The scene suggests that she commítted suícíde, but due to the brand-new ínventíon of fíngerpríntíng, ít was díscovered she was murdered by her former lover, Monsíeur Garníer.
The brownísh coloríng on thís víctím's foot índícate the slow decay of the body. Thís murder happened a whíle before the víctím was found.
Thís scene ís covered ín blood, but the body ís absent. Hopefully the víctím made ít to the hospítal ín tíme.
Thís elderly woman díed of unknown causes ín 1913.
Thís was taken from the autopsy of murder víctím Clémentíne Píchon. Notíce the seal of the French políce on the document.
Thís was one of the fírst críme scenes to be photographed. Sadly, the víctím was 6-year-old Rue Caíllé, murdered by a local teenager.
Before fíngerpríntíng technology became computerízed, the políce had to eyeball fíngerprínt comparísons.
It's ínterestíng to see how far críme ínvestígatíon has advanced over the years. Remember that next tíme you're watchíng an epísode of CSI.
Several of these photos are featured ín a new book called Seíne de Crímes by French medícal examíner, Charlíer Phíllíppe, known to the autopsy communíty as “the Indíana Jones of graveyards.” So, íf you're lookíng for a new coffee table book…