Beneath cover-up tattoos: possibilities and limitations of various photographic techniques.

Bibliographic Details
Title: Beneath cover-up tattoos: possibilities and limitations of various photographic techniques.
Authors: Holz F; Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital of Frankfurt, Goethe University, Kennedyallee 104, 60596, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. holz@med.uni-frankfurt.de., Birngruber CG; Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany., Ramsthaler F; Institute of Legal Medicine, Saarland University, Homburg, Saar, Germany., Verhoff MA; Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital of Frankfurt, Goethe University, Kennedyallee 104, 60596, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Source: International journal of legal medicine [Int J Legal Med] 2020 Mar; Vol. 134 (2), pp. 697-701. Date of Electronic Publication: 2019 Jan 31.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Language: English
Journal Info: Publisher: Springer International Country of Publication: Germany NLM ID: 9101456 Publication Model: Print-Electronic Cited Medium: Internet ISSN: 1437-1596 (Electronic) Linking ISSN: 09379827 NLM ISO Abbreviation: Int J Legal Med Subsets: MEDLINE
Imprint Name(s): Original Publication: Heidelberg, FRG : Springer International, c1990-
MeSH Terms: Tattooing*, Photography/*instrumentation , Photography/*methods, Color ; Humans ; Infrared Rays
Abstract: Background: The goal of this study was to investigate the usefulness of various photographic techniques in visualizing previous tattoos under cover-up tattoos.
Material and Methods: Ten volunteers with 11 known cover-up tattoos were examined using different photographic techniques: A Canon EOS 6D full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera used in conjunction with a SB600 off-camera flash system and an extension cord; and a Leica M8 digital imaging system camera in conjunction with two different infrared filters (715 nm and 850 nm) and a Metz CL-45 handle-mount flash. A Lumatec Superlite 400 forensic light source was used along with the Canon EOS 6D as a third system.
Results: The best results for black cover-up tattoos were achieved with the full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera in conjunction with the off-camera flash system and, for colored cover-up tattoos, with IR-photography at a wavelength of 850 nm. The Lumatec Superlite 400 light source did not provide better results for conventional photography than those obtained with flash lighting.
Discussion: In nine out of eleven cover-up tattoos, the previous tattoos could, at least, be partially visualized. The quality of the visualization depended on the color, pattern, density, and quality of the cover-up tattoo as well as on the photographic technique. None of the examined photographic techniques could satisfactorily image the previous tattoo if the cover-up tattoo was large and black, especially not if it was densely inked.
Conclusion: Depending on the color of the cover-up tattoo, a full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera in conjunction with a SB600 off-camera flash system (for black cover-ups) or infrared photography with flash lighting and an 850 nm filter (for colored cover-ups) proved to be the best of the investigated techniques to visualize a previous tattoo under a cover-up tattoo.
References: Deter-Wolf A, Robitaille B, Krutak L, Galliot S (2016) The world’s oldest tattoos. J Archaeol Sci Rep 5:19–24.
Sperry K (1991) Tattoos and tattooing – part I: history and methodology. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 12(4):313–319. (PMID: 10.1097/00000433-199112000-00008)
Bäumler W, Landthaler M (2006) Tattoo-Entfernung mit dem Laser. MMW Fortschr Med 148:37–40. (PMID: 10.1007/BF03364783)
Brähler E, Hofmeister D (2009) Verbreitung von Tätowierungen, Piercings und Körperhaarentfernung in Deutschland. IOP Publishing Physics. Web: http://goo.gl/9iE01H . Accessed 21 Oct 2017.
Kluger N (2015) Epidemiology of tattoos in industrialized countries. Curr Probl Dermatol 48:6–20. (PMID: 10.1159/000369175)
Laumann AE, Derick AJ (2006) Tattoos and body piercings in the United States: a national data set. J Am Acad Dermatol 55:413–421. (PMID: 10.1016/j.jaad.2006.03.026)
Tampisch HJ, Brandau K (2014) Tattoos und piercings in Deutschland. IOP Publishing Physics. Web: http://aktuell.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/mam/content/tattoo-studie.pdf . Accessed 30 Oct 2017.
Gy Ho S, Goh CL (2015) Laser tattoo removal: a clinical update. J Cutan Aestet Surg 8(1):9–15. (PMID: 10.4103/0974-2077.155066)
Birngruber CG, Görner N, Ramsthaler F (2016) Über den Wert von Tätowierungen zur Identifizierung Verstorbener am Beispiel gerichtlicher Leichenöffnungen im Institut für Rechtsmedizin Gießen. Arch Kriminol 237:13–24. (PMID: 26934763)
Birngruber C, Ramsthaler F, Kettner M, Verhoff MA (2011) Superimposition ante- und postmortaler Bilder von Tätowierungen zur Identitätssicherung – ein Fallbericht. Arch Kriminol 227:48–54. (PMID: 21404551)
Ondruschka B, Ramsthaler F, Birngruber CG (2017) Forensische Bedeutung von Körpermodifikationen. Rechtsmedizin 27:443–451. (PMID: 10.1007/s00194-017-0183-9)
Ellen DM, Creer KE (1970) Infrared luminescence in the examination of documents. J Forensic Sci Soc 10(3):159–164. (PMID: 10.1016/S0015-7368(70)70590-2)
Oliver WR, Leone L (2012) Digital UV/IR photography for tattoo evaluation in mummified remains. J Forensic Sci 57(4):1134–1136. (PMID: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02101.x)
Rost T, Kalberer N, Scheurer E (2017) A user-friendly technical set-up for infrared photography of forensic findings. Forensic Sci Int 278:148–155. (PMID: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.07.001)
Bryson D, Wright J, Barker K (2013) The identification of tattoo designs under cover-up tattoos using digital infrared photography. J Vis Commun Med 36(3–4):104–110. (PMID: 10.3109/17453054.2013.851654)
Clarkson H, Birch W (2013) Tattoos and human identification: investigation into the use of X-ray and Infrared radiation in the visualization of tattoos. J Forensic Sci 58(5):1262–1272. (PMID: 10.1111/1556-4029.12237)
Contributed Indexing: Keywords: Cover-up tattoo; Forensic light source; Forensic photography; IR photography; Identification; Lumatec Superlite 400
Entry Date(s): Date Created: 20190202 Date Completed: 20201118 Latest Revision: 20210913
Update Code: 20210913
DOI: 10.1007/s00414-019-02007-2
PMID: 30706194
Published: 2020 Mar
Database: MEDLINE

Academic Journal